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THE ODES OF PINDAR 



Of the translations in this collection, the First, 
Third, Fourth, Eighth, and Tenth Pythians 
have been previously published under the title 
Some Odes of Pindar ("The Poet of the Month" 
[Norfolk, Conn.: New Directions, 1942]). 



The University of Chicago Press Chicago 37 
Agent: Cambridge University Press London 

Copyright 1947 by The University of Chicago. All rights 
reserved. Published 1947. Composed and printed by The 
University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. 



A NOTE ON PINDAR AND HIS POETRY 

CONCERNING the life of Pindar we can be sure 
only of the bare outlines, together with certain gen- 
eral facts. There is no sound biographical tradition 
for his period. It will perhaps be best to ignore anecdotes, 
guesses, and combinations which cannot be confirmed and 
to state briefly what seems to be established. Pindar was 
born a citizen of Thebes, the chief city of the Boiotian con- 
federacy, in 518 B.C. The date of his death is uncertain; but 
the last work of his for which we have a date (though not a 
very secure one) is the Eighth Pythian, written probably in 
446 B.C. At all events, he lived to an advanced age. We know 
further that he was of aristocratic birth and heir to certain 
priestly offices of the sort highly prized by the Greek nobility. 
In spite of his high rank, he plainly did not consider himself 
wealthy; but the simple list of his contracts indicates that 
he was a professional poet of great repute, and as such he 
must have earned a great deal. The rest of his biography 
must be pieced out from the contents and implications of his 
poems, many of which are dated. 

" Pindar lived through a period of crucial change in Greek 
history. His life is bisected by the great Persian invasion of 
480-479 B.C., a war in which Thebes, split within by factional 
rivalries, played a difficult and unhappy part. Against the 
forces of Xerxes, the combined Greek command chose to 
defend central Greece by holding the mountain pass of Ther- 
mopylai and the sea pass of Artemision. The Persians forced 
them to give up both positions. Theban soldiers had fought 
beside Leonidas at Thermopylai badly, according to Herod- 
otos, but he is prejudiced and may be wrong. In any case, 
when the Greek armies fell back on the Isthmos of Korinth 



and the fleet on Salamis, Boigtia and all other states to the 
north were left open to the enemy; nor had the Thebans the 
opportunity, as did the Athenians, to evacuate their popula- 
tion by sea. Thebes gave in, the city was in the hands of the 
Persians and Persian sympathizers, and the Persian general, 
Mardonios, made it his base of operations. At Plataia, where 
the invaders were finally defeated and forced to withdraw, a 
Theban contingent fought on the Persian side. What part, if 
any, Pindar played in all this is not known; but for some 
years after Plataia he was a citizen of a dishonored state. 
Parallels from modern wars are only too obvious, and it 
should be understandable that a certain bitterness over this 
defeat and betrayal and over the attitude of more fortunate 
states with better war records remained with Pindar. Of the 
cities which fought the Persian, Athens in particular emerged 
from the struggle with greatly augmented prestige and 
strength. Pindar is said to have studied at Athens and un- 
doubtedly had many friends there; but his openly avowed 
admiration for Athenian achievement must have been tem- 
pered with resentment even before, in or about 457 B.C., the 
Athenians temporarily forced Thebes into the position of a 
subordinate ally. 

As a professional poet, Pindar traveled much, and his ac- 
quaintance was singularly wide. His poems (including the 
fragments) show connections in all the leading Greek states 
of his day and with many small cities as well. Among these- 
external relations there are several which are of particular 
importance. He wrote several poems in honor of Hieron, 
tyrant (that is, dictator) of Syracuse in Sicily, and considered 
that cruel, but gifted and successful, ruler to be his friend. In 
Greek history aristocrats are seldom found on the side of 
tyrants; but Pindar thought he saw in Hieron a champion 
of Greek civilization against the dark forces of barbarism 
(Pyth. 1) and a ruler intelligent enough to use his vast power 
toward ultimate good. Pindar himself visited Sicily, and his 
works show acquaintance with other prominent Sicilians, 



VI 



including Theron, tyrant of Akragas, and, in particular, 
Theron's nephew, Thrasyboulos. 

Another important external connection is Pindar's friend- 
ship with various noble families in Aigina, a Dorian island- 
state across the water from Athens. The friendship between 
Thebes and Aigina was close, and in legend the nymphs 
Thebe and Aigina were said to be sisters. Pindar wrote eleven 
odes for Aiginetan victors almost one-fourth of the total 
number and did not weary of singing the praises of their 
special heroes, the Aiakidai, or sons of Aiakos, namely, 
Peleus and Telamon, with their sons, Achilleus and Aias 
(Ajax). The Aiginetans, famous seafarers who distinguished 
themselves at Salamis, were also victims of Athenian im- 
perialism (their state was "liquidated" by Athens during the 
Peloponnesian War), and it is tempting to see in Pythia 8 
a protest against the pretensions of the Athenian democracy 
led by Perikles. Yet, if this is true, too many conclusions con- 
cerning Pindar's political views should not be recklessly 
drawn. Despite certain aristocratic prejudices, he belonged 
(apparently) to no faction; when he speaks of states, he gen- 
erally speaks only to praise; and he considers himself to be 
in sympathy with all intelligent and well-meaning men, 
whatever their city (Pyth. 1, 2, 11). 

Of Pindar's works, only the epinician, or victory, odes have 
survived intact, although numerous fragments show that 
he wrote much besides. The victory ode commemorates the 
success of a winner in the "games" or athletic meets held at 
regular intervals from very early times down to the Roman 
period. There were four great games : the Olympian, at Pisa 
in Elis, sacred to Zeus; the Pythian, at Pytho (Delphoi), 
sacred to Apollo; the Nemean, at Nemea in the Peloponnese, 
sacred to Zeus; and the Isthmian, at the Isthmos of Korinth, 
sacred to Poseidon. Of these, the Olympian games were the 
oldest and most honorable. In addition, there were numerous 
local games, in which success brought minor, but consider- 
able, acclaim; many of these are named in poems for famous 

vu 



champions, such as Diagoras of Rhodes (Ol. 7) or Xcnophon 
of Korinth (Ol. 13). The events included races for four-horse 
chariot, mule chariot, and single (ridden) horse; foot races at 
various distances; contests in boxing, wrestling, and pankra- 
tion (a combination of the two) ; and the pentathlon, a com- 
plex event which involved racing, jumping, throwing the 
discus and javelin, and wrestling. It must be understood that 
in all horse and chariot races the "victor" was the person who 
entered horse or team; he was not required to ride or drive 
in person. 

Pindar's peculiar excellence seems to have lain in the 
composition of victory odes; they may well have been his 
favorite form. The modern reader will always wonder why. 
There are several considerations. In the first place, the games 
were occasions of high sanctity, held in holy places, and pro- 
tected by a truce of God, invoked to secure free competition; 
it will be seen that every epinician ode wears, in one place or 
another, the attributes of a hymn. Further, success meant a 
demonstration of wealth and power (particularly in the 
chariot races) or of superb physical prowess, shown through 
peaceful and harmless means. The very uselessness of these 
triumphs, which aroused the contemptuous anger of Xe- 
nophanes and Euripides, attracted Pindar. A victory meant 
that time, expense, and hard work had been lavished on an 
achievement which brought no calculable advantage, only 
honor and beauty. This may sound somewhat romantic, but 
competition symbolized an idea of nobility which meant 
much to Pindar; and in the exaltation of victory he seems 
sometimes to see a kind of transfiguration, briefly making 
radiant a world which most of the time seemed, to him as to 
his contemporaries, dark and brutal. 

The occasion and circumstances of the ode must have been 
somewhat as follows: When a victory was won, the victor 
(or his family or some wealthy friend) commissioned the 
poet to write the commemorative ode. When this was com- 
plete, a choir of men or boys (probably amateurs and friends 



vm 



of the victor) was trained to sing it. The true presentation of 
the ode was, then, a performance, privately given for the 
victor and his friends sometime after the event. Pindar him- 
self was not always present at the performance, nor did he 
always train the choir. In commissioning, some sort of agree- 
ment or contract was made. This contract may often have 
concerned not only the poet's fee but also various matters 
which the person who paid for the ode desired to have in- 
cluded, such as, for instance, mythical allusions to be made 
or details concerning the victor or his family. Thus, when we 
find Pindar being rather tediously exact about the exploits 
of brothers, uncles, cousins, or remote ancestors of his hero, 
we must remember that all this may have been stipulated in 
the contract. At other times he was doubtless given a free 
hand. 

Concerning the form of the ode, there has been much dis- 
cussion. This is not the place for me to set forth a thesis or to 
defend one in detail; I shall simply state what I take to be 
the general principles of composition. The poet had before 
him certain matters which must be included; the name of 
the victor, the place of the victory with some allusion to the 
protective deity of the place, one or more stories or episodes 
from heroic legend (in all but very short odes), and any 
further elaboration which was called for in the contract or 
which suggested itself to the poet. Above all, it was necessary 
to make a beginning. Pindar's opening passages are generally 
imposing, elaborate, and worked out with great care (note, 
by contrast, that terminal passages may be abrupt, even 
awkward) . He may begin with an invocation addressed to 
a god or city (OL 4, 12, 14; Pyth. 1, 2, 8; etc.) ; with a com- 
parison or simile (OL 6, 7; Isth. 6) ; with a wish (Pyth. 3) ; 
with a direct address to the victor (Isth. 2) or a statement of 
the poet's own position and obligations (OL 3, 10; Pyth. 4) ; 
or with various combinations of the above motives (OL 1; 
Nem. 5; etc.). From such a formal opening he proceeds by 
way of compliment and acknowledgment to the rest of his 



IX 



material. The manner is that of an improvisation, so that 
(for example) a myth is generally introduced as if it were 
not planned or foreseen but suggested out of the immediate 
context. How much of this forward development represents 
actual method, how much means only a contrived appear- 
ance of improvisation, it is difficult to say. 

Since it is necessary to speak of the victor at the beginning, 
either in or immediately after the invocation, and since it is 
natural also to end with the victor or with persons close to 
him, the natural place for the myth or episode out of heroic 
legend that part of the material most remote from the pres- 
ent is in the center. But here, as always, there is no hard 
and fast rule. In Nemea 1 and 10 the myth runs from the 
middle of the poem right to the close. Again, in Pythia 1 (as 
also elsewhere) there is no one myth, but various mythical 
descriptions and allusions are scattered throughout the ode. 

Nothing could be more deceptive than to emphasize too 
much the parts of the poem (invocation, personal compli- 
ment, prayer, moral, myth) as sharply distinct elements which 
must be bound together by transitional ties. It is better to 
admit that the transitional passages, such as moralities, wishes, 
comparisons, may grow directly out of what precedes and 
may generate what follows. Consider, first, for example, the 
beginning of Pythia 10 (the earliest ode) . Pindar's opening 
note is the happiness of Thessaly (and of Lakedaimon, a foil 
to show how happy Thessaly is). After brief self -adjuration, 
he gathers up the elements of the victory (in naming the 
winner, his home, the place of the contest) ; then proceeds, 
via the victory of Hippokleas' father and Apollo's favor, to 
prayer that such successes may continue unbroken and the 
gods' favor be constant. Yet no mortal can always be happy, 
though the success of father and son after him symbolizes 
such fortune as can be attained by men, beyond whose reach 
lies the divine happiness of the Hyperboreans. Through these 
moralities thought is swung against counterthought until 
the illustrative name, Hyperboreans, chimes the keynote of 



the myth, which follows. Here invocation, occasion, victor, 
prayer, moral, and myth are more or less discernible ele- 
ments, though the development is so smooth that we pass 
naturally, even unconsciously, from one stage to another 
(here, as often, the return from myth to occasion and victor 
is less happily accomplished). Contrast, now, Pythia 8 (the 
latest ode). This opens with invocation of Hesychia, the 
goddess of peace, who is besought to accept the song in 
honor of Aristomenes, the victor. But peace and justice evoke, 
by way of contrast, hatred and pride, as embodied in the 
giants Porphyrion and Typhon. Their fall came about at the 
hands of Zeus and Apollo; and Apollo, lord of Pytho, brings 
us once more to the victory, the victor, and Aigina. Invoca- 
tion, victor, myth, moral, and warning are inextricably inter- 
twined. This is no fusion of parts but an organic develop- 
ment from the idea of Hesychia and the presence of Aris- 
tomenes; and the rest of the poem can be run through in the 
same manner. 

At the same time, there are many mythical passages which 
were doubtless forecast in advance and which are to some 
extent self-subsistent entities. The best example is the story 
of Jason in Pythia 4, which opens formally and closes not 
through overlapping phrase but through an abrupt, conscious 
summary and an equally formal and conscious return to the 
victor, Arkesilas. Even in such "pure myths," Pindar hardly 
tells a story, for he assumed that the outlines of legend were 
familiar to his listeners; rather, he lights up some intense 
moment, or series of moments, in a tale already known. 

Further, although embarrassment over the terms of hire 
and the status of the poet as paid entertainer breaks to the 
surface, Pindar likes to appear as one who writes as he 
pleases, being the friend and equal of his patrons. These al- 
lowed the great man much liberty. Thus he feels free to 
moralize as he will, even in the middle of a myth (01. 1) ; to 
correct himself in mid-progress (Ol. 1, 8) ; to talk to himself 
(Pyth. 2) ; to defend his own position and policies (Pyth. 9, 

XI 



11; Ncm. 7, 8) ; to make entirely personal acknowledgments 
(Pyth. 8). And here, perhaps, is one more reason for Pindar's 
devotion to the epinician ode; it gave him a starting-point, 
from which he could evolve, within certain limits, almost any 
sort of variation on the choral ode and, at the same time, a 
firm point of reference to which he could always return. 

Pindar's odes are generally cast in triads, each triad con- 
sisting of two identical stanzas, called "strophe" and "anti- 
strophe," followed by a third which is different, called 
"epode." In any given poem, all triads are identical. In a few 
of the odes there are no triads, but a series of identical stanzas 
(OL 14; Pyth. 6, 12; Nem. 2, 4, 9; Isth. 8). Such odes are 
called "monostrophic." The meters are exceedingly com- 
plex; but, though scholars are unable to agree with one an- 
other over definitions, they are able to gain a very definite 
idea of the rhythms involved. 

The obscurity commonly attributed to Pindar is mainly 
due to his allusiveness, that is, his habit of plunging obliquely 
into legendary matter or personal compliment where we 
have lost the clues. Also, to any but an experienced classicist 
(and sometimes to one of these) his work will seem at times 
to be formidably studded with proper names. These cannot 
be excised, and the translator can only furnish a glossary and 
hope that his readers will be patient enough to use it if they 
need to. Another inherent source of difficulty is stylistic. 
Sentences are long, main verbs often hang fire, shifts of sub- 
ject or emphasis may be sudden. Even so, Pindar is never 
quite so desperately difficult as Browning (Sordello), Keats 
("Lamia"), or Shelley ("Prometheus Unbound") can be; 
but where the new reader finds that he cannot make sense, 
he may feel sure that he is dealing with a passage which has 
perplexed scholars and probably (I am thinking of Sogenes, 
of Nem. 7) the poet's own listeners. At his dazzling best, 
Pindar is perfectly clear; I can only hope that this will come 
out in the translation. 



xn 



OLYMPIA 1 

Best of all things is water; but gold, like a gleaming fire 

by night, outshines all pride of wealth beside. 

But, my heart, would you chant the glory of games, 

look never beyond the sun 

by day for any star shining brighter through the deserted air, 

nor any contest than Olympia greater to sing. 

It is thence that the song winds strands 

in the hearts of the skilled to celebrate 

the son of Kronos. They come their ways 

to the magnificent board of Hieron, 

who handles the scepter of dooms in Sicily, rich in flocks, 

reaping the crested heads of every excellence. 

There his fame is magnified 

in the splendor of music, where 

we delight at the friendly table. Then take the Dorian lyre 

from its peg, 

if any glory of Pisa or Pherenikos 
slide with delight beneath your heart, 
when by Alpheus waters he sped 
his bulk, with the lash laid never on, 
and mixed in the arms of victory his lord, 

king of Syracuse, delighting in horses; and his fame shines 
among strong men where Lydian Pelops went to dwell, 
Pelops that he who clips the earth in his great strength, 
Poseidon, loved when Klotho lifted him out 
of the clean cauldron, his shoulder gleaming ivory. 
Great marvels in truth are these, but tales 
told and overlaid with elaboration of lies 
amaze men's wits against the true word. 

1 



Grace, who brings to fulfilment all things for men's delight, 

granting honor again, many a time makes 

things incredible seem true. 

Days to come are the wisest witnesses. 

It is better for a man to speak well of the gods; he is less to 

blame. 

Son of Tantalos, against older men I will say 
that when your father summoned the gods 
to that stateliest feast at beloved Sipylos, 
and gave them to eat and received in turn, 
then he of the shining trident caught you up, 

his heart to desire broken, and with his horses and car of gold 

carried you up to the house of Zeus and his wide honor, 

where Ganymede at a later time 

came for the same desire in Zeus. 

But when you were gone, and men from your mother looked, 

nor brought you back, 

some man, a neighbor, spoke quietly for spite, 
how they took you and with a knife 
minced your limbs into bubbling water 
and over the table divided and ate 
flesh of your body, even to the last morsel. 

I cannot understand how a god could gorge thus; I recoil. 

Many a time disaster has come to the speakers of evil. 

If they who watch on Olympos have honored 

any man, that man was Tantalos; but he was not 

able to swallow his great fortune, and for his high stomach 

drew a surpassing doom when our father 

hung the weight of the stone above him. 

He waits ever the stroke at his head and is divided from joy. 

That life is too much for his strength; he is buckled fast in 

torment, 
agony fourth among three others, because he stole 



and gave to his own fellowship 

that ambrosia and nectar 

wherewith the gods made him immortal. If any man thinks 

to swindle 

God, he is wrong. Therefore, they sent his son 
back to the fleeting destiny of man's race. 
And when at the time of life's blossoming 
the first beard came to darken his cheek, 
he thought on winning a bride ready at hand, 

Hippodameia, the glorious daughter of a king in Pisa. 

He walked alone in the darkness by the gray sea, 

invoking the lord of the heavy trident, 

and he appeared clear at his feet. 

He spoke: "Look you, Poseidon, if you have had any joy 

of my love 

and the Kyprian's sweet gifts, block the brazen spear 
of Oinomaos, and give me the fleeter chariot 
by Elis' river, and clothe me about in strength. 
Thirteen suitors he has killed now, and ever 
puts aside the marriage of his daughter. 

The great danger never descends upon a man without 

strength; 

but if we are destined to die, why should one sit 
to no purpose in darkness and find a nameless old age 
without any part of glory his own ? So my way 
lies this hazard; yours to accomplish the end." 
He spoke, with words not wide of the mark. 
The god, increasing his fame, gave him 
a golden chariot and horses never weary with wings. 

Breaking the strength of Oinomaos, he took the maiden and 

brought her to bed. 

She bore him six sons, lords of the people, blazing in valor. 
Now he lies at the Alpheus 
crossing, mixed with the mighty dead. 



His tomb is thronged about at the altar where many strangers 

pass; but the glory 
of Pelops looks afar from Olympia 
in the courses where speed is matched with speed 
and a man's force harsh at the height. 
And the winner the rest of his lifetime 
keeps happiness beside him sweeter than honey 

as far as the games go; but the good that stays by day and 

abides with him 

is best that can come to a man. Be it my work to crown 
in the rider's rhythm and strain 
of Aiolis that king. I believe 
there is no man greater both ways, for wisdom in beautiful 

things and power's weight 
we shall ever glorify by skill in the folds of song. 
Some god stands ever about you, musing 
in his mind over what you do, 
Hieron. May he not leave you soon. 
So shall I hope to find once more 

even a sweeter word's way to sing and help the chariot 

fleeting, 

coming again to the lifting hill of Kronos. For me 
the Muse in her might is forging yet the strongest arrow. 
One man is excellent one way, one in another; the highest 
fulfils itself in kings. Oh, look no further. 
Let it be yours to walk this time on the height. 
Let it be mine to stand beside you 
in victory, for my skill at the forefront of the Hellenes. 



OLYMPIA 2 

My songs, lords of the lyre, 

which of the gods, what hero, what mortal shall we celebrate ? 

Zeus has Pisa; but Herakles founded the Olympiad 

out of spoils of his warfare; 

but Theron, for his victory with chariot-four, is the man 

we must sing now, him of the kind regard to strangers, 

the tower Akragantine, 

choice bud of a high line guarding the city. 

In strong toil of the spirit 

they were the eye of Sicily, they beside the river kept 

the sacred house; their doom drew on, bringing wealth and 

delight near 

by the valor in their blood. 

But, O Kronios, Rhea's son, guarding Olympos' throne 
and the games' glory and the Alpheus crossing, 
in mild mood for the song's sake 
kind keep for them always the land of their fathers 

the rest of their generation. Of things come to pass 

in justice or unjust, not Time the father 

of all can make the end unaccomplished. 

But forgetfulness may come still with happiness. 

Grief, breaking again out of quiet, dies at last, quenched 

under the waxing weight of fair things, 

with God's destiny dropping 

wealth deep from above. Thus the tale for the queenly 

daughters of Kadmos, who endured much; grief falls a dead 

weight 
as goods wax in strength. Semele 



of the delicate hair, who died in the thunderstroke, 
lives on Olympos, beloved of Pallas forever, of Zeus, 
best loved of her son with ivy in his hands. 

And they say that in the sea 

among the daughters of Nereus in the depth, Ino 

is given life imperishable for all time. But for mortal men 

no limit in death has been set apart 

when we shall bring to an end in unbroken good 

the sun's child, our day of quiet; stream upon stream 

of delights mixed with labor descends upon men. 

Thus Destiny, who has from her father 

the kindly guidance of these men, yet with wealth sent from 

God 

bestows some pain also, to return upon us hereafter. 
So his doomed son killed Laios 
when they met, and brought to accomplishment 
the thing foretold long since at Pytho. 

And Erinys looked on him in bitterness 

and slew all his strong race at each others' hands. 

Yet when Polyneikes fell, Thersandros remained for honor 

in the trial of fresh battles, 

a branch to shield the house of Adrastos. 

Stemmed in his stock, it is fit for Ainesidamos' son 

to win songs in his honor and the lyre's sound. 

He himself took the prize 

at Olympia; to his brother equal in right the impartial 

Graces brought blossoms of honor for the twelve-lap chariot 

race 

at Pytho, at the Isthmos; success 
for the striver washes away the effort of striving. 
Wealth elaborate with virtue brings opportunity for various 
deeds; it shoulders the cruel depth of care, 



star-bright, man's truest 

radiance; if a man keep it and know the future, 

how, as we die here, the heart uncontrolled 

yields retribution; likewise for sins in this kingdom of God 

there is a judge under the earth. He gives sentence 

in constraint of wrath. 

But with nights equal forever, 

with sun equal in their days, the good men 

have life without labor, disquieting not the earth in strength 

of hand, 

never the sea's water 

for emptiness of living. Beside the high gods 
they who had joy in keeping faith lead a life 
without tears. The rest look on a blank face of evil. 

But they who endure thrice over 

in the world beyond to keep their souls from all sin 

have gone God's way to the tower of Kronos; there 

winds sweep from the Ocean 

across the Island of the Blessed. Gold flowers to flame 

on land in the glory of trees; it is fed in the water, 

whence they bind bracelets to their arms and go chapleted 

under the straight decrees of Rhadamanthys, 
whom the husband of Rhea, high throned above all, 
our great father, keeps in the chair of state beside him. 
They say Peleus is there, and Kadmos, 
and his mother with prayer softening Zeus' heart 
carried Achilles thither, 

who felled Hektor, Troy's unassailable 

tall column of strength, who gave death to Kyknos 

and the Aithiop, Dawn's child. There are many sharp shafts 

in the quiver 
under the crook of my arm. 



They speak to the understanding; most men need inter- 
preters. 

The wise man knows many things in his blood; the vulgar 
are taught. 

They will say anything. They clatter vainly like crows 

against the sacred bird of Zeus. 

Come, my heart, strain the bow to the mark now. Whom 

shall we strike 

in gentleness, slipping merciful arrows? Toward Akragas 
we will bend the bow and speak 
a word under oath in sincerity of mind. 
Not in a hundred years has a city given forth 
a man kinder to his friends, more open of hand 

than Theron. But envy bestrides praise, 

though coupled not with justice; still the revilers' 

scandal would put secrecy upon fair deeds 

of noble men. For sands escape number, 

and of all the joy Theron has brought to others 

what man could tell the measure? 



OLYMPIA 3 

My claim is to sing bright Akragas and please the Tyndari- 

dai, the lovers of strangers, 
and their sister Helen with the splendid hair, 
shaping the hymn of Olympic triumph for Theron, the speed 

of his horses 
with feet never weary. So the Muse was near as I found a 

fire-new style 
to set in the Dorian cast the speech 

of acclamation. The wreaths bound over my hair are an 

influence 

to this duty formed in the hands of God, 
to mix the lyre's intricate voice, the clamor of flutes, and the 

set of the words 
for Ainesidamos' son the right way; and Pisa bids me speak. 

From her, 
driven of God, songs speed to a man, 

over whose locks and brows an upright judge of the Hellenes, 

an Aitolian, fulfilling the ordinances of Herakles 

anciently founded, has cast 

the pale glory of the olive that long ago, 

from the shadowy springs of Ister, 

Amphitryon's son brought back, to be 

the loveliest memorial of the games at Olympia. 

By reason he persuaded the Hyperboreans, Apollo's people. 
In sincerity of heart he asked, for the grove of Zeus 
open to all, that growth to shadow men always and crown 
their valor. 



Before this in his time, when his father's altars were hal- 
lowed, at mid-month, 
it had cast back the full orb of evening, 

riding in gold. He established the sacred test of the fifth-year 

games 

under the magic hanging hills of Alpheus river. 
But the lawn in the valley of Kronian Pelops had blossomed 

not to the beauty of trees. 
He thought the garden, naked of these, must endure the 

sun's sharp rays. 
Then it was the urge took him to journey 

to Istrian country. There Leto's daughter, the runner with 

horses, 
received him when he came from Arkadia's ridges and 

winding gullies, 
when, at Eurystheus' command, 
the doom of his father had driven him 
to bring the doe with the golden horns 
that once Taygeta had written in fee 
to be sacred to Artemis Orthosia. 

On that errand he saw the land at the back of the cold north 
wind, 

and he stood amazed at the trees. 

A sweet longing came upon him to plant them at the twelve- 
lap running place 

of horses. Now he visits in graciousness that festival, with 
the godlike 

twins, the children of deep-girdled Leda. 

He came to Olympos and left those heroes guidance of the 

magnificent games, 
man's might and the chariot's speed handled. 

10 



I will speak, for my heart drives me: on the children of 

Emmenos 
and Theron glory is descended at the hands of the Tyndari- 

dai, since beyond others 
they propitiate them at the bountiful feasting-table, 

keeping in reverence of heart the gods' mysteries. 

But if water is best of all things, and of possessions gold is 

goodliest, 

still in the virtues of men 
Theron has come home to the uttermost 
Herakles' pillars 

and touched. Beyond no wise man can tread; 
no fool either. I will not venture; a fool were I. 



11 



OLYMPIA 4 

Mightiest driver of the weariless speed in the lightning's feet, 

Zeus: the circling seasons, yours, 

have brought me to testify 

to the wide strength of highest achievements 

by virtue of song and the lyre's intricacy. 

At friends' good luck the noble will rise to welcome 

the sweet message. 

son of Kronos, lord of Aitna, 
blast-furnace to hundred-headed Typhon's bulk, 
in the name of the Graces 

accept this song of Olympic victory, 

light at long last from the wide strength of valor. 
For it rides the wheels of Psaumis, 
who, his brow shaded in olive 
of Pisa, comes home, bringing glory 
on Kamarina. May God be kindly 
to his prayers hereafter; I have praise for him. 
A keen handler of horses, 
he rejoices in hospitality to his friends; 
and his face, with clean purpose, is turned toward Peace, who 
loves cities. 

1 will not steep my speech 

in lies; the test of any man lies in action. 

So the son of Klymenos 

was set free of dishonor 

at the hands of Lemnian women. 

As he won the race in bronze armor 

and came to Hypsipyle for his garland, he spoke: 

"Here am I in my speed. 

My hands are as good as my heart. 

Many a time even on young men gray hairs 

appear, against the likelihood of their youth." 

12 



OLYMPIA 5 

Accept, daughter of Ocean, in kindness of heart the blos- 
soming 

to delight of high deeds and Olympian garlands 
for the mule car and the tireless feet, accept these gifts from 
Psaumis. 

Increasing your city, Kamarina, that fosters its people, 

he honored six double altars at the high festivals of the gods 

with the sacrifice of oxen and with five-day games, races 

for team, mules, single horse. A winner, to you 
he dedicated the delicate glory 

and proclaimed his father Akron and the new-established 
dwelling. 

He comes from the lovely precinct of Oinomaos and Pelops 
and lifts again, Pallas, keeper of the city, your sacred wood, 
your river Oanis with the lake near by, 

and the stately channels whereby Hipparis waters the folk. 
With speed he welds the high-groined forest of standing 

houses, 
bringing back out of despair to the light this people, his 

citizens. 

Always attendant on valor, work and substance struggle to 

win 

the end veiled in danger; 
but when men succeed, even their neighbors think them 

wise. 



13 



Savior Zeus, high in the clouds, at home on the Kronian hill, 
with honor for the wide course of Alpheus and the sacred 

cave of Ida, 
I come to you a suppliant, speaking above Lydian flutes. 

I will ask that you glorify this city with fame 

of good men; and you, Olympic champion, may you carry 

your age in happiness to its end, with joy in Poseidon's horses, 

your sons standing beside you, Psaumis. But if one water 

flowering wealth 
in abundance of substance 
and fair fame also, let him not seek to become God. 



14 



OLYMPIA 6 

Like architects of a sumptuous palace, 

who set the golden columns under the portico wall, 

we shall build. The forehead of every work 

begun must shine from afar. If a man be Olympian victor, 

steward at the mantic altar of Zeus in Pisa, 

cofounder of glorious Syracuse, what praise shall he escape 

in the song's loveliness, given only citizens without rancor ? 

Let the son of Sostratos know 

in that cast he has set his blessed feet. Accomplishments 
without venture win no praise among men 
nor in hollow ships; splendor of toil is remembered of many. 
Agesias, beside you stands that praise that of old 
in justice Adrastos spoke of Amphiaraos, 
the seer Oikleidas, when earth folded him under and his 
shining horses. 

Seven corpse-fires burned to the end, and Talaos' son 
spoke at Thebes this word: "I mourn the glory of the host. 
He was two things, a good prophet, a fighter with the pike." 

Such praise 

befalls the lord of the feast at Syracuse. 
I, who am not bitter in disputation nor overbold, 
owe plain testimony and swear a great oath 
over the words; and the sweet-voiced Muses shall hear me 

speak. 

Up then, Phintis, yoke me the strength of the mules 
with speed, let me mount the chariot, drive a clean 
highway to the source of these men's race. 
They understand, and will guide us better than others; 
they took garlands at Olympia. Now before them 

15 



we must open the gates of song; to Pitana 

and the bank of Eurotas we must take our journey today. 

Pitana, the legends tell, lay in love with Poseidon, Kronos' 

son, 

and bore the dark-haired girl, Euadne. She hid 
under the fold of her robe her maiden love's agony, 
till in the final month she sent attendants to carry 
the child, and give it into the hands of Eilatidas, 
lord of the men of Arkady at Phaisana, with Alpheus under 

his sway. 

There grown, by Apollo she first touched Aphrodite's sweet- 
ness. 

But Aipytos knew the whole time how she hid the seed of 

the god. 
To Pytho, with sharp care crushing down the wrath in his 

heart unspoken, 

he departed, to question the god over grief unendurable; 
while she, putting aside her girdle, crimson dyed, 
and her silver pitcher, under the darkness of low trees 
bore a boy with the heart of divination. The gold-haired god 
made gentle Eleithuia and the Destinies to stand beside her. 

Out of the lovely distress at her loins came lamos 
straightway into the light, whom she in her grief 
left on the ground. By the god's design two 
green-eyed serpents tended him, with blameless venom dis- 
tilled 

of bees. The king, riding from rocky Pytho, 
questioned all in the house when he came for the child 
Euadne had borne, and called him issue 

of Phoibos, to be beyond all men a seer among mortals 
pre-eminent, nor his race fail ever thereafter. 
Thus Aipytos. They swore they had heard 
never nor seen the five-day child. He lay 

16 



in the long grass and a wilderness of thicket, his soft body 
deep over in the blue and yellow brightness of violets, 
whereby his mother declared upon him for all time 

that name immortal, lamos. He, assuming in time the bloom 

of delightful youth, gold-chapleted, wading in Alpheus mid- 
stream, called 

his forefather strong Poseidon, and the archer over god-built 
Delos 

under the night sky, claiming upon his head 

the care of subjects. Close to his ear his father's voice came 

answering, and spoke: "Arise my son, follow 

here in the wake of my voice to the place frequented of all." 

They came to the sheer rock of towering Kronios. 

There the god gave into his hands a double treasure: 

seercraft, to hear even then the voice ignorant 

of lies: and command when the bold contriver should 

come, 

Herakles, proud blossom of Alkaid blood, and found 
in his father's name the festival thronged of men, prime 

ordinance of contests 
to establish on Zeus' highest altar the place of prophecy. 

From him, the lamid race with their high fame in Hellas. 
Wealth came afterward; they honor accomplishment; 
the way they walk is clear, and each thing 
bears witness. Mockery from malice of others overhangs 
their heads who drive foremost over the twelve-lap course, 
wifh grave grace pouring glorification of comeliness on 

them. 
But if in truth under Kyllana's peaks, Agesias, your mother's 

kinsmen 

propitiate over and again the gods' herald with supplication 
of sacrifice in piety, Hermes, who keeps the games and the 
luck of the contest 

17 



to magnify the good men of Arkadia, he, son of Sostratos, 
abets the weight of his father's thunder to grant you fortune. 
I believe a stone upon my speech has honed it to fluency, 
and the mother of my mothers, the Stymphalian, blossoming 

Metope, 
urges my will compliant with the easy breath of persuasion. 

Her child is Thebe, bender of horses, whose lovely waters 
I drink, and the men I braid this complication of song for are 
comrades in arms. Up with your men, Aineas! 
Sing first, Hera, of maidenhood, then know 
if in true account we escape the ancient 
word of shame, swine of Boiotia. You are a true messenger, 
letterstaflf of the comely-haired Muses, sweet mixing-bowl of 
vociferous song. 

I have told you to remember Syracuse and Ortygia. 

Hieron in serious thought controls them under 

his scepter's candid sweep; he guides the crimson feet 

of the feast of Demeter and the lady of white horses, her 

daughter, 

with the power of Zeus on Aitna. The soft-spoken lyres 
acknowledge him, and the dancing. May lurking time not 

shatter his power. 
Let him receive in kindly affection Agesias' victor feast, 

sped from home at the keep of Stymphalos to his second 

home, 
leaving the mother-city of Arkady rich in sheep. In the night 

of storms 

it is well to have two anchors binding the fleet ship. 
May God's love appoint the glory of both my friends. 
Lord of the sea's action, consort of Amphitrite, 
her of the golden spindle, grant a straight voyage, clear 
of distress. Make blossom the joyous flower of my song. 



18 



OLYMPIA 7 

As one who takes a cup from a lavish hand, 

bubbling within the foam of the grape, 

presenting it 

to a young bridegroom, pledging hearth to hearth, the pride, 

sheer gold, of possession, 

the joy of the feast, to honor his new son, render him 
among friends present admired for the bride's consent: 

so I, bringing poured nectar of victory, 

gift of the Muses, the mind's sweet yield, 

offer it up 

to the conquerors at Olympia and Pytho. Blessed is he whom 

good fame surrounds. 

Grace eyes one man, then another, bestowing favor 
frequently to the melodious lyre and the manifold music of 

flutes; 

and to both strains I keep company with Diagoras, singing 
the sea's child, daughter of Aphrodite and bride of Helios, 

Rhodes, 
and give praise, spoil of his boxing, to the onslaught of a 

man gigantic, 

wreathed in victory beside Alpheus' water 
and Kastalia; and to Damagetos his father, darling of Justice, 
who dwell in the triple-citied island over against 
the jut of broad Asia, by right of an Argive spear. 

I will try to straighten the story from the beginning 
with news from as far back as Tlepolemos 
for Herakles' 

race of reaching strength. On the father's side they glory in 
Zeus' descent; on the mother's, 

19 



Amyntoridai from Astydameia. Delusions innumerable 
hang their shadows over men's minds. This thing passes wit 
to discover, 

what is best now and at the end for a man to attain. 

Even Tlepolemos, this island's founder, once 

angered, rearing 

the stock of brute olive, smote to death Alkmana's bastard 

brother, 
Likymnios, at Tiryns as he issued from the chamber of Midea. 

Despair in the brain has driven 
even the wise man out of his course. He went to the god for 

counsel. 

From the fragrant sanctuary the gold-haired god bespoke a 

voyage 

of ships from the Lernaian ness straight for a seagirt reach, 
where once the high king of the gods drenched their city in 

a gold snowfall, 

when, by the artifice of Hephaistos, 
at the stroke of the bronze-heeled axe Athene sprang 
from the height of her father's head with a strong cry. 
The sky shivered before her and earth our mother. 

Then Hyperion's giant son, light-giver to mortals, 

laid a necessity upon his own children 

to guard thereafter: 

they must be first to found a bright altar to the goddess and 

establish a stately sacrifice 
and propitiate the heart of her father and the maid of the 

ringing spear. Respect 
for forethought puts on men goodliness and delight also. 

Yet the unpredictable mist of forgetfulness stalks us, 
it wrenches aside the right way of action 
far from our thoughts. 

20 



Thus they went up, having not the bright seed of flame, with 

fireless sacrament they appointed 
the grove on the acropolis. Yet he, assembling the yellow 

cloud, 
rained much gold upon them, and the green-eyed goddess 

granted 

every art, that they should surpass all men in the excellent 

work of their hands. 
And their streets grew images in the likeness of men and 

beasts. 
Their fame went deep. For the wise skill will wax greater 

for its innocence. 
The ancient legends of men 

tell how, when Zeus and the immortals divided the earth 
Rhodes had not yet shone in the sea's water, 
but the island was hidden in the salt depths. 

Helios was gone, and none showed forth his lot. 

They left him with no guerdon of land, 

that blameless god. 

He spoke, and Zeus would cast again, but Helios would not 

suffer it, for he said 

under the gray sea he had spied, as a growth from the floor, 
a land to foster multitudes, kindly to sheep. 

Straightway he bade Lachesis of the golden veil 

lift up her hands, nor deny 

the gods' great oath 

but assent with the son of Kronos, bending her head; the 
island rising thereafter 

into the bright air should be his. The words' end was ac- 
complished 

with a true fall. Out of the winding water the island 

blossomed, held of the father of searing sun-rays, 
master of horses that breathe fire. Rhodes mixed with him 
bore 

21 



seven sons, that displayed the shrewdest wits of the men of 

old time. 

Of these, one sired Kamiros, 

lalysos, eldest born, and Lindos; sundered, they held 
the land of their patrimony in triple division, 
each a city, and these are called by their names. 

There, as sweet deliverance after the bitterness of misfortune, 

to Tlepolemos, Tirynthian arch-founder, is given 

as to a god 

the smoking processional of sheep, the judgment of games, in 

whose flowers 
Diagoras was wreathed twice. At the glorious Isthmos the 

luck four times was his. 
One win to crown another at Nemea, at rocky Athens. 

The bronze at Argos knew him, the caldrons 

in Arkadia and Thebes, the temperate games 

Boiotians keep; 

Pellana likewise. At Aigina he won six times, at Megara the 

stone ballot 

tells no alternate story. But Zeus father, brooding over 
the peaks of Atabyrios, honor the set of the song Olmpion- 

ician, 

the man who has found excellence with his fists. Grant him 

pleasure of veneration 
in the sight of citizens and strangers his friends. The bitter 

path of pride 
he walks straitly, sure of all that the upright minds of his 

fathers 

left, his heritage. Founder not the seed 
of Kallianax, your own. With good fortune for the Eratidai 

the city 

has also its part of happiness. But in one parcel of time 
the winds intershifting flare to new directions. 

22 



OLYMPIA 8 

Mother of games, gold-wreathed, Olympia, 

mistress of truth where men of prophecy 

by burning victims probe the pleasure of Zeus of the shining 

thunderbolt, 

what story he has for folk 
who strain in spirit to capture 
magnificence of strength 
and space to breathe after work's weariness: 

his will is steered by men's prayers to favor of piety. 
Then, O grove of Pisa beside Alpheus, shadowed with trees, 
accept this our festival song with its burden of garlands. 

Great is his fame forever 
whom your bright victory befalls. 
Various goods have come 
to one man and another; there are many roads 
to happiness, if the gods assent. 

Timosthenes, destiny has assigned you and your brother 

to Zeus Genethlios. He gave you glory at Nemea; 

Alkimedon beside the Kronian hill 

he made Olympic champion. 

Splendid he was to behold, and, in action not shaming his 

beauty, 
he won at wrestling to herald his homeland, Aigina of the 

sweeping oar. 

There, beyond men elsewhere, they cultivate 
her who sits beside Zeus of hospitality, Themis, 

lady of salvation. With right wit to distinguish 
that which has large and various weight in the scale, with- 
out failure, 

23 



is hard; yet some statute of the immortals has made this sea- 
girt land also 

to strangers from all far places 
a wonderful column of safety; 
may time, uprolling, falter 
never in accomplishment of that end. 

Since Aiakos it was under stewardship of a Dorian people. 
That hero Leto's son and Poseidon, wide-ranging of mind 
in purpose to put a wreath of towers on Ilion, called to their 

aid 

for the wall whose doom had been written, 
how in the upsurge of war, 
in the battle to storm the citadel, 
smoke of destruction must blaze its end. 

And at its first establishment three pale snakes 

writhed aloft that rampart. Two, collapsing 

overborne, gave up their lives. 

One reared up with a cry. 

Apollo, pondering the portent before him, spoke: 

"Hero, Pergamos shall be taken where your hands have 

wrought. 

So speaks to me this vision sent 
by Kronos' deep-thundering son, even Zeus. 

Nor without help of your children after you; it shall be 

broken 
in the first and fourth generation." With this plain word the 

god 
made for Xanthos urgently, and the well-horsed Amazons, 

and Ister. 

The shaker of the trident steered to the sea's 
Isthmos his running chariot, 
bearing Aiakos home 
aloft on his golden car 

24 



to visit the yoke of Korinth with its glorious feasting. 

No single joy among men will match another's. 

If, for the fame he has won with beardless boys, my song 

makes much of Melesias, 
let no rancor cast at me a rugged stone. 
I can speak of this same gladness 
that came to him at Nemea 
and thereafter in the men's contests 

as pancratiast. It is better to know what you teach 

if you teach it; not to study beforehand is thoughtless. 

The minds of men untried are flimsy rather. 

He better than others can expound 

wrestling, the skill to further a man on his way 

who out of sacred games would win the most desirable honor. 

Now Alkimedon brings to him 

with a thirtieth victory, praise. 

By luck that comes from the gods and no failure of nerve 

he forced on four boys' bodies 

homecoming in bitterness, speech without honor, a secret 

path; 

but into his sire's father inspired 
strength to grapple his old age. 
A man achieving the things desired 
makes Hades to be forgotten. 

But I must waken memory and bespeak 

for the Blepsiadai success in the flowering strength of their 

hands. 
Now is laid along their brows the sixth wreath from the 

leaves of contests. 

Even they that are dead have some share 
of things done in the true way; 
nor does the dust obscure 
the grace of their kinsmen's virtue. 

25 



Iphion, giving ear to Angelia, daughter of Hermes, 

might speak to Kallimachos of the shining 

glory at Olympia Zeus granted 

them and theirs. May he will to bestow noble success 

on nobility, fending aside the bitter edge of infirmity. 

I pray him that destiny be of no doubtful counsel over 

these good men's fate, 
but bring a life untroubled of grief 
to bless themselves and their city. 



26 



OLYMPIA 9 

The Archilochos song 

cried aloud at Olympia, the victor hailed in his glory three 

times over 

was enough by the Kronian hill to lead in triumph 
Epharmostos in revelry with his beloved companions. 
But now shower from the Muses' bows that range into wide 

distance, 

Zeus, lord of the light in the red thunderbolt, 
and with even such arrows 
the solemn headland of Elis 
that the hero Lydian Pelops of old 
won, fairest bridal dower of Hippodameia. 

Cast a winged shaft of delight 

to Pytho likewise; you will find words that falter not to the 

ground 

as you throb the lyre for a man and a wrestler 
from famed Opous. Praise the land and her son. 
Themis and the lady of salvation, Eunomia, her daughter, 
the glorious, keep it for their own; he blossoms in exploits, 
Kastalia, beside your spring 
and by Alpheus river, 

to make the garlands in their bloom lift up 
the mother of Lokrian men, land of trees shining. 

And I, lighting a city beloved 
with blaze of whirling song, 
swifter than the proud horse 
or winged ship on the sea 
will carry the message, 
if with hand blessed I garden 
this secret close of the Graces. 

27 



It is they who minister delightful things. If men are brave, or 
wise, it is by the divinity 

in them; how else could Herakles' 

hands have shaken the club against the trident 

when by Pylos' gate Poseidon stood over against him, 

and Phoibos strode on him with the silver bow in his hands 

poised; 

neither the death-god Hades rested the staff 
wherewith he marshals mortal bodies of men perished 
down the hollow street. But, my lips, 
cast this story from us. 
For to revile the gods 
is hateful learning, and to vaunt against season carries 

an underweb of madness. 

Speak not idly such things; let be war and all discord 
apart from the immortals. Rather to Protogeneia's city 
bring our speech, where, by decree of Zeus of the rippling 

thunder, 

Deukalion and Pyrrha, coming down from Parnassos, 
founded their house at the first and with no act of love estab- 
lished 

a stone generation to be their folk. 
These were named people therafter. 
Wake for them the high strain of song, 
and praise old wine, but the blossoms of poetry 

that is young. For they say 
the black earth was awash 
under the weight of water; but by 
Zeus' means, of a sudden the ebb-tide 
drained the flood. And from these 
came your ancestors, men with brazen shields, 
traced back at the outset 

to lapeton's seed, sons of his daughters by the great sons of 
Kronos, kings in the land for all time 

28 



until the lord of Olympos, 

ravishing from the Epeian land Opous' daughter, lay with 

her 

secretly on Mainalian slopes; and thereafter he brought her 
to Lokros, lest age, overtaking, doom him 
to be childless. The bride carried the mighty 
seed; and the hero was glad to see the son for his fostering. 
He named him after his mother's sire, 
to be called Opous, 

a man surpassing in stature and action, 
and gave him the city and the people to govern. 

There came to him stranger-guests 

from Argos and Thebes, Arkadians and Pisatans. 

But beyond all newcomers he honored Aktor's son and Ai- 

gina's 

Menoitios; he whose child, brought with the sons of Atreus, 
in the plain of Teuthras stood his ground alone with Achilles 
when Telephos, bending back the rest of the valiant Danaans, 
hurled them against their own beached ships. 
Thus was made plain for any 
with wit to see how strong the heart of Patroklos; 
and Thetis' son ordained thereafter that never 

in grim battle should Patroklos be 
marshaled apart from his own 
man-wrecking spear's place. 
May I find words now to win through 
riding the car of the Muses 

to the occasion. May daring and compassing power 
come upon me. I went, in virtue of proxeny, 
to stand by Lampromachos in his garlands of Isthmos, where 
both men won 

on a single day their events. 

And twice thereafter delight of victory came to him at the 
gates 

29 



of Korinth, as in the Nemean valley to Epharmostos. 
He likewise at Argos won glory among men, and as a boy 
at Athens; in Marathon, torn from beardless antagonists, 
he stood the onset of older men for the silver vessels. 
He threw these in his speed and craft 
with no fall scored against him 
and walked through the ring to loud acclamation 
in the pride of his youth, splendid, and with achievement of 
splendor. 

Before the Parrhasians assembled, 

he appeared, a wonder, at the festival of Zeus Lykaios; 

as when he won the cloak, warm medicine 

of cold winds, at Pellene; the tomb of lolaos 

witnesses to his shining glory, as Eleusis the sea-borne. 

Best by nature is best; but many have striven before now 

to win by talents acquired 

through art the glory. 

But the thing unblessed by God is none 

the worse for silence, always. There are ways 

that surpass others. 
But no one discipline sustains 
us all. And skills are steep things 
to win. As you bring the games' prize, 
be bold to cry aloud 
this man that is blessed by nature, 
strong of hand, nimble, with eyes of valor, 
who at your feast, Aias, son of Oileus, has wreathed your altar 
in victory. 



30 



OLYMPIA 10 

Read the name of the conqueror, Olympian 
son of Archestratos, where it is written down 
on my heart. I owed him a sweet strain of music and forgot. 

O Muse and Truth, 
daughter of Zeus, with steady hands 
lift me back from the lies 
and the reproach of bad friendship. 

Stealing from afar upon me, time delayed 

has shamed the depth of my debt. 

Still, interest has strength to solve blame's bitterness; see how 

the wave, running, washes 
back the piled surf-stones 
and how we shall settle this debt 
between us, the way of grace, as friends. 

For the goddess of strict truth steers the city of the West 

Wind Lokrians, 

and the Muse of heroes is among them, 
and brazen Ares. The fight with Kyknos turned back even 

the surpassing might 
of Herakles; and Agesidamos, winner 
in boxing at Olympia, 
may give thanks to Has his trainer, as once 
to Achilles, Patroklos. 

Sharpening one born for great achievement, 
a man, under God's hand aiding, could drive to gigantic 

glory. 

But, without striving, few have won joy of victory 
to be a light upon their lifetime for all deeds accomplished. 
The rights of Zeus are urgent with me to sing that pride of 
contests that Herakles by the primeval grave of Pelops 

31 



founded sixfold for his labors 
when he had slain Poseidon's son, 
the perfect fighter, Kteatos, 

and slain Eurytos, in will to extract from Augeas 
unwilling the mighty price of his lackey-service. 
Lurking in ambush under Kleonai, Herakles smote them by 

the wayside, 

since aforetime they had shattered 
his following, the men of Tiryns, 
as they lay in the deep places of Elis, 

these Moliones in their high pride. The king of the Epeians, 
treacherous to his very guest-friends, not long 
thereafter saw his own rich city under stark fire 
and the stroke of iron settling into the deep 
pit of destruction. 
No man can fend aside 
the onset of stronger men. 
Augeas also, at the last, in his fool's counsel 
was taken and dragged to the edge of steep death, nor 
escaped it. 

But the strong son of Zeus at Pisa, 

gathering together his host and all their spoil, 

ordained the grove sacred to his father, and fixed the Altis 

about in a clean place; 
and a level floor circle-wise 
he dedicated to be the banquet place, 
doing honor to the Alpheus crossing 

with the twelve gods who are lords; he named 

the hill of Kronos. Before this, 

under sway of Oinomaos, nameless it had been sunk under 

deep snow; and at this festival birth 
the Fates were attendant, with him 
who alone makes apparent 
truth and that which things are, 

32 



Time. Who in his sweep forward has made plain 

the way of the battle gift 

and the division Herakles made of his war-spoil, the sacrifice, 

how he established 

with this first Olympiad the five-year festival 
and with prizes for games won. 
Who, then, was given 
the young wreath of victory 
for his hands' work, or speed of foot, or chariot, 
putting before his eyes the games' glory and accomplishing 

thought in action? 

In the furlong race, keeping the strain of his running 

in an even course, Likymnios' son, 

Oionos, who came from Midea with his people; in the 

wrestling Echemos brought Tegea acclaim. 
At boxing it was Doryklos won his way, 
who dwelt in the city of Tiryns. 
Guiding four horses abreast, Samos 

of Mantinea, Halirothios* son. 

Phrastor threw the spear to the limit; 

but, whirling the stone disk in his hand, Nikeus spun a 

length beyond all others, and his fellowship 
burst into uproar of acclamation. Into that evening 
the winsome light of a moon, 
full blown, burned on. 

And every precinct in that glad celebration was filled with 

song, 

in the mode of victory strains. 

In the path of which ancient traditions, now also, for grace 
in this namesake and exalting victory, we shall sing the 

thunder 

and the fire-handed bolt 
of Zeus of the loud stroke, 

33 



who, in strength, forever 
grips the blazing thundershaft; 

and the strain of song ripening shall meet melodies of the 
reed flute 

that came to light long since by famed Dirke. 

Yet as his wife's child comes .desirable 

to a father who goes the way backward from youth, and with 

great love makes warm his heart; 
for wealth that is given an alien, 
brought from without to master, 
is a bitterness upon him who dies and leaves it; 

so also, Agesidamos, a man who has done splendid things 

without song, goes down into the courts of death 

and has breathed out his might in empty endeavor, and got 

brief joy. For you, the fair-spoken lyre 
and the delicate flute drench you in beauty. 
Wide is your honor, kept 
by the maiden Pierides, Zeus' children. 

And I, laying my hand strongly, have come to embrace 

the famed men of Lokris, with honey 

perfuming their city of good men. I have praised the beau- 
tiful son 

of Archestratos. I saw him win by strength of his hand 

beside the Olympian altar 

on that day long ago, 

a splendor to behold, 

and with that youth upon him that once 

by the Kyprian's power delivered Ganymede from death the 
shameless. 



34 



OLYMPIA 11 

There is a time when men need most favoring 

gales; there is a time for water from the sky, 

rain, child of cloud. 

But if by endeavor a man win fairly, soft-spoken songs 

are given, to be a beginning of men's 

speech to come and a true seal on great achievements. 

Abundant is such praise laid up for victories 

Olympian. My lips have good will 

to marshal these words; yet only 

by God's grace does a man blossom in the wise turning of his 

thought. 

Son of Archestratos, know 
that for the sake, Agesidamos, of your boxing 

I shall enchant in strain of song a glory upon 

your olive wreath of gold 

and bespeak the race of the West Wind Lokrians. 

There acclaim him; I warrant you, 

Muses, you will visit no gathering cold to strangers 

nor lost to lovely things 

but deep to the heart in wisdom, and spearmen also. No 

thing, neither devious fox 
nor loud lion, may change the nature born in his blood. 



35 



OLYMPIA 12 

Daughter of Zeus who sets free, I beseech you, Fortune, 

lady of salvation, guard the wide strength of Himera. 

By your power are steered fleet ships on the sea, 

sudden wars by land, the gatherings heavy 

with counsel. Men's hopes, oft in the air, 

downward rock again as they shear a heaving sea of lies. 

Never yet has a man who walks upon earth 
found from God sure sign of the matter to come. 
Perception of future goes blind. 
Many things fall counter to judgment, sometimes 
against delight, yet others that encountered evil 
gales win in a moment depth of grandeur for pain. 

Son of Philanor, like a cock that fights at home 
by his own hearth, even so the splendor 
of your feet might have dropped to obscurity, had not 
strife that sets men at odds cost you your homeland, Knossos. 
Now, Ergoteles, garlanded at Olympia, 
twice at Pytho, at the Isthmos, here at your new home, 
Himera, you magnify in fame the Bathing Place of the 
Nymphs. 



36 



OLYMPIA 13 

Thrice Olympionician 

the house I praise, gentle to fellow-citizens, 

ministrant to strangers. I will know 

Korinth the rich, forecourt 

of Poseidon of the Isthmos, shining in its young men. 

There Law, sure foundation-stone of cities, dwells with 

Justice 

and Peace, dispenser of wealth to man, her sisters, 
golden daughters of Themis, lady of high counsels. 

They will to drive afar 

Pride, the rough-spoken, mother of Surfeit. 

I have fair things to say, and straightforward 

courage urges my lips to speak. 

It is vain striving to hide inborn nature. 

To you, sons of Alatas, the Hours have brought many times 

bright victory, 

as in high achievement you ascended in the sacred contests, 
even as, blossoming, they have founded in men's minds 

the beginning of many a wise device, from you. To the 

inventor the deed belongs. 
Where else did the graces of Dionysos 
shine forth with the dithyramb ox-driven? 
Who else put curbs to the gear of horses 
or set pediments like the double eagle, lord of birds, on the 

gods' 

temples? Among you the Muse, sweet-spoken, 
among you Ares also, 
flowers in your young men's spears of terror. 

37 



Lord on high, wide ruling 

over Olympia, Zeus father, 

begrudge not in all time these words; 

and, guiding clear of disaster these people, 

for Xenophon steer the wind of his destiny. 

Take in his name this festival measure of garlands that he 

brings from the lawn of Pisa, 

winner at once in pentathlon and the stade run; a thing 
no mortal has matched in time before. 

When he came forward at Isthmos, 

two wreaths of parsley shaded him. 

Nemea will tell no other story. 

For Thessalos his father the shining glory 

of speed in his feet is laid up by Alpheus' stream, 

and at Pytho he had honor in one sun's course of the stade 

and the two-lap race; in the selfsame month 
at Athens of the rocks one fleet-running day 
laid wreaths of loveliness for three successes on his locks. 

Seven times at the maid Hellotis' contests. In the field of 

Poseidon by the sea 

for Terpsias and Eritimos with their father 
Ptoiodoros, there are songs too long for my singing. 
But for all your success at Delphoi 
and in the Lion's meadow, I dispute with the rest 
the multitude of your splendors. Yet in truth 
even I have not power to number 
surely the pebbles in the sea. 

To each thing belongs 
its measure. Occasion is best to know. 
I in my own right have sailed with the multitude 
and cry aloud the wisdom of your forefathers, 
their warcraft in heroic courage 

without lies that touch Korinth: Sisyphos most skilled of 
hand, as a god is; 

38 



Medeia, who ordained her marriage even in her father's 

despite, 
savior of the ship Argo and her seamen; 

the show of valor they made 

long ago, before the Dardanian battlements, 

on either side hewing to the end of strife; 

these with the beloved sons of Atreus, 

striving to win back Helen; those guarding her 

amain. The Danaans shook before Glaukos, who came from 

Lykia. Before them 

he vaunted that in the city of Peirene the power abode 
and the deep domain and the house of Bellerophon, his fore- 
father, 

who beside the Springs, striving to break the serpent Gor- 
gon's child, 

Pegasos, endured much hardship 

until the maiden Pallas gave him 

the bridle gold-covered. Out of dream 

there was waking, and she spoke: "Do you sleep, king de- 
scended of Aiolos? 

Behold, take this magic for the horse 

and dedicate to the father who tames 

beasts, a shining bull in sacrifice." 

To his dream in darkness 

the girl of the black shield seemed to speak 

such things, and he sprang upright on his feet. 

Gathering up the strange thing that lay beside him, 

he sought out, delighted, the prophet in the land 

and showed Koiranides all the ending of the matter, how he 

had slept 
that night, at his behest, by the goddesses' altar. How the very 

child 
of Zeus of the thunder-spear had given into 

39 



his hands the conquering gold. 

The seer bade him obey 

in speed the dream; and, when he had immolated 

a bull to him who grips the earth in his wide strength, 

to found straightway an altar of Athene of the horses. 

God's power makes light possession of things beyond oath 

or hope. 

Strong Bellerophon, pondering, caught 
with the quiet device drawn to the jaw 

the winged horse. Riding, he made weapon play in full 

armor of bronze. 
So mounted, out of the cold gulfs 
of the high air forlorn, he smote 
the archered host of women, the Amazons; 
and the Chimaira, breathing flame; and the Solymoi, and 

slew them. 

On his fate at the last I will keep silence. 
But to Pegasos were given on Olympos 
the lordly mangers of Zeus. 

It becomes me not, spinning 

the shaft's straight cast beside the mark, to speed 

too many bolts from my hand's strength. 

For I came fain helper to the Muses 

on their thrones of shining, and to the Oligaithidai. 

In brief word I will illumine their assembled success at Isth- 

mos and Nemea; and the lordly 
herald's sworn glad cry of truth will bear witness 
they conquered sixty times in these places. 

It has beseemed me before this 
to speak of all they have done at Olympia. 
Things yet to come shall be told clear as they befall. 
Even now I am full of hope, but the end lies 
in God. If only his natal divinity walk far, 

40 



we shall bring this duty to Zeus and Ares. Under the brow 

of Parnassos there were six 

wins; as many at Argos, in Thebes; the king's altar of Zeus 
Lykaios will bespeak as many gained in Arkadian gorges; 

Pellana and Sikyon, Megara, the fenced grove of the Aiaki- 

dai, 

Eleusis and Marathon the shining, 
the rich cities in their loveliness under the crest of Aitna, 
Euboia also; stir with your hand 
all Hellas, they will rise to outpass the eyes' vision. 
Let me swim out with light feet. 
Zeus accomplishes to all grant grave restraint 
and attainment of sweet delight. 



41 



OLYMPIA 14 

You who have your dwelling 

in the place of splendid horses, founded beside the waters of 

Kephisos: 

O queens of song and queens of shining 
Orchomenos : Graces : guardians of the primeval Miny ai, 
hear! My prayer is to you. By your means all delight, 
all that is sweet, is given to mankind. 
If a man be wise, or beautiful, or splendid, it is you. 
Without the grave Graces, not the gods even 
marshal their dances, their festivals; mistresses of all 
heavenly action, they who have set their thrones 
beside Pythian Apollo of the bow of gold 
keep eternal the great way of the father Olympian. 

Lady and mistress Aglaia, 

and Euphrosyne, delighting in song, daughters of the greatest 

god, hear me now; and Thalia, 

lover of dancing, as you look down, with fortune favorable, 
on this victory throng 

stepping delicately. For I have come to Asopichos 

with song worked carefully to the Lydian measure, 

because the Minyan land has been made triumphant at 
Olympia 

by your grace, Lady. Go now, Echo, to the black wall 

of the house of Persephone, bring to his father the clear mes- 
sage; 

stand in the presence of Kleodamos and say that his son 

in the renowned valley of Pisa 

has put on his young hair the wings of glory for games won. 



42 



PYTHIA 1 

Golden lyre, held of Apollo in common possession 

with the violet-haired Muses: the dance steps, leaders of 

festival, heed you; 
the singers obey your measures 
when, shaken with music, you cast the beat to lead choirs of 

dancers. 

You have power to quench the speared thunderbolt 
of flowing fire. Zeus 1 eagle sleeps on his staff, folding his 

quick wings both ways to quiet, 

lord of birds; you shed a mist on his hooked head, 
dark and gentle closure of eyes; dreaming, he ripples 
his lithe back, bound in spell 
of your waves. Violent Ares even, leaving aside the stern 

pride 

of spears, makes gentle his heart in sleep. 
Your shafts enchant the divinities by grace of the wisdom of 

Lato's son and the deep-girdled Muses. 

Yet such creatures as Zeus loves not are shaken to hear 
the music of the Pierides, whether on earth or the sea unrest- 
ing; 
likewise he who sprawls, God's enemy, in the pit of Tartaros, 

Typhon, the hundred-headed, whom of old 

the cave of many names in Kilikia bred; and now 

the sea-dykes above Kymai are set over him; 

Sicily crushes his shaggy 

chest; the sky's pillar is piled above him, 

Aitna of the snows, year-long 

minister of the cleaving ice. 

43 



Thence erupt pure founts of unapproachable fire 

from the secret places within; by day the rivers spout in a 

flood of smoke, 

shot through with shining; by dark from the rock 
the red flame rolling plunges to the deep sea-plain in tumult. 
The monster hurls aloft such spouts 
of weird flame; a portent and a wonder to behold, a wonder 

even to hear from those who have seen. 

Thus, beneath the pinnacles dark in leaves of Aitna he lies 

shackled 
underground, and the jagged bed rips all his back that is 

cramped against it. 

May it be our lot, Zeus, rather to please you. 
You are lord of this mountain, forefront of a bountiful land, 

and in its name 

a famous founder has made glorious the city beside it 
when in the Pythian field the herald cried aloud, announcing 

Hieron's splendor of victory 

in the chariot race. For men who would take ship first grace 
is a favoring wind to befall the passage begun; there is like to 

follow 

at the last also a better homecoming therefor; and calculation 
upon these things befallen brings hope 
that this city hereafter will be famed for garlands won with 

its horses, 

and in the singing festivals be a place renowned. 
Lykian and lord of Delos, 

Apollo, who love Parnassos also and the Kastalian spring, 
may it please you to bring these things to pass 
and to make this country one blessed in its manhood. 

From the gods come all means to mortal endeavor; 
by them we are wise, or strong with our hands, or eloquent 
of speech; and I, pondering 

44 



praise of Hieron, have hope 

not, like a thrower, hefting the bronze-shod spear to fling it 

wide of the course, 

but with a far cast to beat my antagonists. 
If only the rest of his time might keep firm such wealth and 

possession of goods, and bring also forgetfulness of his 

labors. 

So might he remember in what onsets of battle 

he stood with enduring heart, when these men found at the 

gods' hands honor 
such as reaps no Hellene else, 
a garland of wealth to make men proud. Now in truth he 

takes Philoktetes' way 

of war; and in constraint even the proud man 
fawns on his friendship. They say that godlike heroes came 

to bring Poias' son, the mighty archer, 

from Lemnos, where he lay in pain of his festering wound; 
and he sacked Priam's city and made an end of the Danaans' 

labors; 

he came with flesh infirm, but a man of doom. 
In such wise may God guide Hieron 
in the time that steals upon us, granting him occasion of all 

he longs for. 

Muse, be governed by me to sing 
for Deinomenes requital of the chariot victory. 
The joy of his father's triumph is no stranger to him. 
Let us find for the king of Aitna 
some splendor of song that shall be his own. 

For him Hieron founded that city in liberty built 

of gods, and ordinances of Hyllos' rule, and the descendants 
of Pamphylos, 

even of Herakles* seed, 

who dwell beside Taygetos' slopes, are minded to abide for- 
ever in the decrees of Aigimios, 

45 



Dorians. These were blessed in Amyklai's taking; 

they rose and went from Pindos to dwell, deep in glory, next 
to the Tyndaridai, and the fame of their spears has blos- 
somed. 

Zeus accomplisher, beside the waters of Amenas forever 
let all men's speech decree such praise on the citizens and 

their kings. 

By your aid, this leader of men, 
enjoining it upon his son also, might glorify his people and 

turn them to peace and harmony. 
Kronion, I beseech you, bend your head in assent 
that the Phoenician and the war-crying Tyrsenian keep 

quietly at home, beholding the shame of their wreck by 

sea at Kyme, 

the things they endured, beaten at the hands of Syracuse's 

lord, 
how he hurled their young men out of their fleet-running 

ships on the sea, 

gathering back Hellas from the weight of slavery. I am given 
favor in requital from men of Athens for Salamis 
battle, and in Sparta for the fighting before Kithairon, 
where the Medes, benders of the bow, went under; 
so likewise for singing fulfilment 
for Deinomenes' sons of their victory at the watered strand 

of Himera, 

that which they won by valor 
when their foemen were beaten down. 

Singing in season and drawing narrow the strands 

of many matters, you will find less mockery of men that 

follows. Sad surfeit blunts 
the speed of flying hopes. 
If citizens hear overmuch of the bliss of others, it galls the 

secrecy of their hearts. 

46 



Nevertheless, for envy outshines pity, 
pass not over splendid things. With a just tiller steer your 
host. Forge your speech on an anvil that rings no falsehood. 

A spark of dross flying is called a great matter 

coming from you. You are steward of many, and many are 

the witnesses for good or ill who shall be believed. 
Abide in this flowering temper, 
and, if you would hear speech of delight always, falter not in 

your bounty. 

Let go, like a pilot, your sails 
free to the wind. Be not beguiled, dear friend, by easy profit. 

The vaunt of reputation to come 

alone controls the way men speak of those that are gone, their 

life 
in song and story. The generous achievement of Kroisos fades 

not. 

But hateful everywhere is the speech that oppresses Phalaris, 
the heart without pity, who roasted men in the bronze bull. 
Nor lyres under the roof welcome him 
as the sweet theme for the voices of boys singing. 
Good fortune is first of prizes, 

and good repute has second place; the man who attains 
these two and grasps them in his hands 
is given the uttermost garland. 



47 



PYTHIA 2 

Great city, O Syracuse, precinct of Ares 

that haunts the deeps of battle; nurse divine of horses and 

men that fight in iron, 
from shining Thebes I come, bringing you 
this melody, message of the chariot course that shakes the 

earth, 

wherein Hieron in success of his horses 
has bound in garlands that gleam far Ortygia, 
site of the river-Artemis, whose aid stood not afar 
when, with gentling hands, he guided the intricate reins of 

his young mares. 

For the lady of arrows, in both hands bestowing, 

and Hermes of the contests set the gleam of glory on his 

head, when to the polished car 
and the harness he yokes temperate strength 
of horses, invoking also the god of wide strength who shakes 

the trident. 

For other kings aforetime other men also have given 
the high sound of song, requital of their achievement. 
Incessantly the Kyprian songs are of Kinyras, 
beloved of the gold-haired god, Apollo, in fulness of heart, 

and sacred in the favor of Aphrodite. Grace of friendship 

in courteous gaze comes also to bless in requital deeds done. 

Son of Deinomenes, 

the West Lokrian maiden 

at her doors speaks of you; and her gaze, by grace of your 
might, 

goes now untroubled, after the hopeless struggles of war- 
time. 

It is by gods' work that they say Ixion, 

fixed on his winged wheel, spun in a circle, 

48 



cries aloud this message to mortals: 

To your benefactor return ever with %ind dealing rendered. 

He learned that lesson well. By favor of the sons of Kronos, 
he was given a life of delight but could not abide blessedness 

long; in his delirious heart 
he loved Hera, dedicated to the high couch 
of Zeus. That outrage hurled him into conspicuous 
ruin. He was a man and endured beyond all others 
distress full merited. Two sins flowered 
to pain in his life: a hero, he first 

infected the mortal breed with kindred bloodshed, not with- 
out treachery; 

also, in the great secret chambers of Zeus he strove to ravish 
the Queen. A man should look at himself and learn well his 

own stature. 

The coupling unnatural brought accumulation of evil 
on him, even in success; it was a cloud he lay with, 
and he in his delusion was given the false loveliness. 
A phantom went in the guise of that highest daughter 
of Uranian Kronos; a deceit visited upon him 
by the hands of Zeus, a fair evil thing. Zeus likewise wrought 

the crucifixion on the wheel, 

Ixion's bane; and, spinning there, limbs fast 

to the ineluctable circle, he makes the message a thing that 

all may know. 
But she, graceless, spawned 
a child of violence. 
There was none like her, nor her son; no honor was his 

portion in the usage of god or man. 

Nursing him, she named him Kentauros, and he coupled 
with the Magnesian mares on the spurs of Pelion; 
and a weird breed was engendered 
in the favor of either parent: 
the mare's likeness in the parts below, and the manlike father 

above. 

49 



It is God that accomplishes all term to hopes, 

God, who overtakes the flying eagle, outpasses the dolphin 

in the sea; who bends under his strength the man with 

thoughts too high, 

while to others he gives honor that ages not. My necessity 
is to escape the teeth of reproach for excessive blame. 
Standing afar, I saw Archilochos the scold, 
laboring helpless and fattening on his own cantankerous 
hate, naught else; to be rich, with fortune of wisdom also, is 

the highest destiny. 

You, in freedom of your heart, can make this plain, 

you, that are prince of garlanded streets in their multitude 

and lord of the host. If any man 
claims that, for possession of goods and high honor, 
some other of those that lived of old in Hellas has overpassed 

you, 

that man with loose heart wrestles emptiness. 
I shall mount the wreathed ship to speak aloud 
your praise. Your youth is staunch in valor to endure 
stark battle; whence I say you have found glory that knows 

no measure 

in striving against those who rode horses in battle 

and the fighting footranks also. But your elder counsels 

set me free to speak forth 

in your praise, a word without peril 

against any man's contention. Hail, then! This melody is 

sent you 

like Phoenician ware over the gray sea. 
Be fain to behold and welcome the Kastor-chant 
on Aiolian strings, by grace 
of the seven-stringed lyre. 
Learn what you are and be such. See, the ape to children is a 

pretty thing, pretty indeed. 

50 



But Rhadamanthys has done well, to reap 

a blameless harvest of the mind, without joy of deception at 

the inward heart, 

such as ever befalls a man by action of those who whisper. 
To both sides the speakers of slander are an evil beyond 

control. 

They are minded like foxes, utterly. 
But what good then befalls the greedy fox of his slyness ? 
As when the rest of the gear founders in the sea's 
depth, I, the cork at the net, ride not drenched in the brine. 

But the treacherous citizen has no force to cast a word of 

power 
among the great. Still, fawning on all, he threads his way 

too far. 

His confidence is not mine. Be it mine to love my friend, 
but against the enemy, hateful indeed, turn with the wolfs 

slash, 

treading, as the time may need, my devious path. 
Yet in each state the candid man will go far, 
when tyrants rule, or the swirling rabble, 
or the wise keep the city in ward. Yet, it is ill to strive with 

God 

who upholds now one faction, now to the other gives 
great glory. Even success softens not the heart 
of the envious. Straining 
as it were at a pegged line 

too far, they stab the spike to rend their own hearts 
before attainment of the desire in their minds. 
To bear lightly the neck's yoke 
brings strength; but kicking 
against the goads is the way 

of failure. Be it mine that good men will to have me among 
their friends. 



51 



PYTHIA 3 

I could wish that Chiron, Philyra's son 

(if such word of prayer from my lips could be published), 

the departed, were living yet, 

child wide-minded of Uranian Kronos, and ruled the Pelian 

glades, that beast of the hills 

with the heart kindly to men, as of old when he reared 
the gentle smith of pain's ease to heal bodies, Asklepios, 
the hero who warded sickness of every kind. 

Koronis, daughter of Phlegyas the rider, 

before with the ministration of Eleithyia she brought her 

child to birth, was stricken 
by the golden bow of Artemis 
and went down into the house of death from her chamber, 

by design of Apollo. No slight thing 
is the anger of the children of Zeus. She, forgetting him 
in her confused heart, accepted a second marriage, in secrecy 

from her father, 
she who had lain before with Phoibos of the loose hair 

and carried the immaculate seed of the god. 

She could not stay for the coming of the bride-feast, 

not for hymen cry in many voices, such things 

as the maiden companions of youth are accustomed to sing 

at nightfall, using the old names of endearment. No. 

She was in love with what was not there; it has happened to 

many. 

There is a mortal breed most full of futility. 
In contempt of what is at hand, they strain into the future, 
hunting impossibilities on the wings of ineffectual hopes. 



52 



The will of delicately robed Koronis held 

this sin of pride. For she lay in bed with a stranger 

that came from Arkadia, nor escaped 

the Watcher. In his temple at Pytho, where the sheep are 

offered, King Loxias knew, 

persuading his heart to the sheerest witness, his own 
mind that knows all; he has no traffic with lies, nor god 
nor man escapes him in purpose or deed of the hand. 

Knowing the hospitality of bed given Ischys, 

Eilatos* son, and the graceless treachery, he sent his sister, 

inflamed 

with anger that brooked no bar, 
to Lakereia, for the girl lived by Boibias under the pendulous 

cliffs; her angel 

shifted to evil and struck her down; and many a neighbor 
shared, and was smitten together. Fire on a mountain leaping 
from one seed will obliterate a great forest. 

But when her kinsmen had laid the girl in the wall 

of wood, and Hephaistos' greedy flame 

ran high, then spoke Apollo: "No longer 

will I endure in my heart the destruction of my own child 

by death in agony for the weight of his mother's punish- 
ment." 

He spoke, and in the first stride was there and caught the boy 

from the body, and the blaze of the pyre was divided before 
him. 

Carrying him to the centaur in Magnesia, he gave him to be 
perfected 

in the healing of sickness that brings many pains to men. 

They came to him with ulcers the flesh had grown, 
or their limbs mangled with the gray bronze, or bruised 
with the stone flung from afar, 

or the body stormed with summer fever, or chill; and he 
released each man and led him 

53 



from his individual grief. Some he treated with guile of 

incantations, 
some with healing potions to drink; or he tended the limbs 

with salves 
from near and far; and some by the knife he set on their feet 

again. 

But even genius is tied to profit. Someone 

turned even Asklepios with a winning price, showing the 

gold in his hand, 
to bring back from death a man 
already gone. But Kronion, with a cast of his hand, tore life 

from the hearts of both men 

instantly, and the shining thunder dashed them to death. 
With our mortal minds we should seek from the gods that 

which becomes us, 
knowing the way of the destiny ever at our feet. 

Dear soul of mine, never urge a life beyond 

mortality, but work the means at hand to the end. 

But if only temperate Chiron were living yet in his cave, 

and the charm of these songs I make might have cast some 

spell 

across his heart, I could have persuaded him even now 
to give me a healer against the burning sickness of great men, 
someone called son of Latoidas or even Zeus the father. 
I could have come by ship cutting the Ionian sea 
to the spring of Arethousa and my friend and host of Aitna. 

He disposes in Syracuse as a king, 

mild to citizens, not envious of good men, to strangers a 

father admired. 

If I could have come down from the sea 
with a gift in either hand, golden health, and praise, glorious 

with garlands of the Pythian Games 

54 



Pherenikos won him long ago, the best horse beside Kirrha, 
I say that I would have crossed the deep sea bringing him 

light 
to shine afar, more bright than a star in heaven. 

But I will pray to the Great Mother 

to whom night after night before my doors, a stately goddess, 

the maidens dance, and to Pan beside her. 

But, Hieron, if you know how to take the straight issue of 
words, you have seen from what came before: 

For every one good thing the immortals bestow on men 

two evils. Men who are as children cannot take this becom- 
ingly; 

but good men do, turning the brightness outward. 

The portion of happiness has come your way. 
Great destiny looks to you, if to any man, as a lord 
and leader of people. But a life unshaken 
befell neither Peleus called Aiakidas 
nor godlike Kadmos, yet men say these two were given 
blessedness beyond all mortals. They heard on the moun- 
tain 

and at seven-gated Thebes the gold-chapleted Muses singing 
when one married ox-eyed Harmonia, and the other 
wise Nereus' legendary daughter, Thetis. 

And the gods feasted beside them each in turn, 

and they saw the kings, the sons of Kronos, in their golden 

chairs, and accepted 
their gifts. And after weariness of old 
they won in requital the favor of Zeus, and their hearts were 

lifted. Yet in time 

three daughters suffered and made Kadmos desolate 
of gladness; though Zeus father came to the lovely embrace 
of the fourth, white-armed Thyona. 

55 



And Peleus' son, the sole child 

immortal Thetis bore him in Phthia, left life in battle, arrow- 
struck; 

and his body, burned on the pyre, 

stirred the Danaan grief. If any mortal keeps in mind the 
right road to truth, he must take 

with grace whatever the gods give. Various ways go the 
blasts 

of the high-flown winds. Men's prosperity will not walk far 

safe, when it fares under its own deep weight. 

I will be small in small things, great among great. 

I will work out the divinity that is busy within my mind 

and tend the means that are mine. 

Might God only tender me delicate wealth, 

I hope I should find glory that would rise higher hereafter. 

Nestor and Sarpedon of Lykia we know, 

men's speech, from the sounding words that smiths of song 

in their wisdom 

built to beauty. In the glory of poetry achievement of men 
blossoms long; but of that the accomplishment is given to 

few. 



56 



PYTHIA 4 

Today, my Muse, you must stand by a man beloved, 

king of Kyrene, the city of noble horses; there at Arkesilas' 
festival 

swell the wind of singing, the debt to Lato's children and 
Pytho, 

where, throned beside the golden eagles of Zeus, 

with Apollo himself not far, the priestess 

prophesied that Battos should come to colonize the corn- 
lands of Libya, 

leaving his sacred island to found a city 

of chariots at the shining breast of the sea; 

that he must bring home at last 

in the seventeenth generation, Medeia's word, that Aietes' 

mantic daughter, lady of Kolchis, spoke of old with immortal 

lips at Thera. Her prophecy 
to the half -god crew of Jason the spearman: 
"Hearken, children of high-hearted men and of gods. 
I say to you that from this sea-beaten soil, Epaphos' daughter 
Libya shall be planted, and made a stock beloved of cities 
in Zeus Ammon's place of establishment. 

"They shall change winged dolphins of the sea for running 
horses, 

oars for reins, and steer chariots with storm in their feet. 

That augury shall make Thera to be mother-city 

of great populations, the prophecy spoken, where Triton's 
lake 

pours to the sea, by a god in mortal guise; he offered earth, 

and Euphamos, leaping down, accepted the token of friend- 
ship, 

and over the portent Kronos' son, Zeus father, clashed his 
thunder. 

57 



"The god came as we slung the bronze-fanged 

anchor aboard, fleet Argo's bridle. Twelve full days before 

we had carried the sea-timber from Ocean's stream, over the 

desolate ridges, at my behest heaving up the weight. 

There the lonely divinity drew near, and upon him 

was the shining appearance of a man august. He opened in 

words 

of friendship, as those whereby men of kindness 
proffer newcome outlanders entertainment. 

"We spoke of the sweet necessity of return that stayed 

our lingering. He named himself Eurypylos, son of the 

earthshaker immortal, Poseidon; 

he understood our haste, but, tearing a clod from the soil, 
proffered it in his right hand, a token of friendship. 
The hero Euphamos disobeyed him not, but, vaulting ashore, 
set hand in hand and accepted the magic piece of earth. 
They tell me that, washed from the deck, 
it has gone with the current, 

"at nightfall down the salt sea's bending track. Indeed, over 
and again I charged 

the grooms, easing their masters, to guard it well. But their 
hearts forgot. 

And now the seed imperishable of wide 

Libya is washed before its time to this island. But had Eu- 
phamos gone 

home to sacred Tainaron and cast it down at the mortal gate 
of Hades, 

he being lord and son of Poseidon, ruler of horses, 

born of Tityos' daughter, Europa, beside the banks of 
Kephisos; 

"in his children's fourth generation 

his blood, with the Danaans' aid, had taken the broad con- 
tinent. For in that time 

58 



they shall be driven, and leave Lakedaimon and Argos bay 
and Mykenai. 

As it is, he shall beget a race elect in the bed 

of strange women; and thereafter, coming by God's ordi- 
nance to this 

island, they shall bring forth a man to be lord of shadowy 
plains. 

On a day to come, in the golden house, 

as he approaches at last the Pythian shrine, 

"Phoibos shall speak to him in words of prophecy 

and bid him carry in ships cities to the rich demesne of 

Kronian Neilos." 
Lo, the marshaled words of Medeia; and the godlike heroes 

were struck to motionless 

silence, hearing the depth of her brooding thought. 
O son of Polymnastos, blessed, by this decree 
the oracle steered your course in the voice unasked of the 

winged priestess, 

who, with threefold salutation, revealed you 
destined king of Kyrene, 

as you came to ask what release the gods might grant of your 

stammering voice. 

And in after time, and now, as in the bright pride of flower- 
ing spring, 

eighth in his generation, Arkesilas ripens to his prime, 
and to him Apollo and Pytho have sped glory at the Amphik- 

tyons' hands 

for his chariot victory. I give him now to the Muses 
with the ram's fleece all of gold, in whose quest 
the Minyans sailed, and honors bestowed of God were made 
to befall them. 

What, then, was the beginning of their adventure? 
What danger nailed them fast in the strength of steel? The 
word of God ran that Pelias 

59 



must die at the hands, or the unyielding contrivance, of some 

proud scion of Aiolos. 
The stark prophecy came to his wary mind 
spoken beside the naveled center of leafy Earth, our mother: 
"Beware and hold in all guard him of the single sandal 
when he comes down from the steep steadings 
to the rising round of famed lolkos, 

stranger be he or citizen." And he came in his time, 

a man terrible with twin javelins; and a twofold guise was 

on him. 
A tunic of Magnesian fashion fitted close his magnificent 

limbs, 

and across it a panther's hide held off the shivering rains. 
Nor did the glory of his streaming locks go shorn, 
but blazed the length of his back. Striding apace 
he stood, and tested his unfaltering will 
in the market place that filled with people. 

They knew him not; yet awe-struck one man would say to 

another: 

"This cannot be Apollo, surely, nor Aphrodite's lord, 
he of the brazen chariot. And in shining Naxos they say 
Iphimedeia's children died, Otos, and you, lord Ephialtes the 

reckless. 

And Artemis' arrows, cast from the might of her quiver, 
struck down Tityos in the speed of his desire, 
that any man hereafter may long rather to catch at loves he 

has power to take." 

So they questioned one another and made 
answer. But with his polished car and mules Pelias urgently 
drove up. He stared as he saw the sandal conspicuous 
on the right foot, and there only. But, veiling the fear 
in his heart, he spoke: "What manner of land, my friend, 
might you claim as your own? What groundling woman let 
you forth 



from a sere womb? See that you stain not your race 
with lies, that to all men are most hateful." 

He boldly but in speech of gentleness made answer: 

"I think I can carry Chiron's discipline. For I come from his 

cave 
and the side of Chariklo and Philyra, where the Centaur's 

stainless daughters brought me to manhood. 
With twenty years gone to fulfilment and no deed 
done, no word spoken to offend them, I have come 
home, bringing back my father's lordship (administered 
now by no right) that Zeus of old granted, privilege 
of Aiolos, leader of men, and his sons thereafter. 

"For I hear that Pelias, unrighteously and in persuasion of his 

pale heart, 
has stripped the power by force from my fathers, the kings 

of old. 

They, when I first saw light, fearing the proud 
chief's violence, made dark mourning as if I had died 
in the house; under the cloak of women's mingled 
lamentation they sent me away in my splendid raiment; 
they made their way by night and brought me to Chiron, 

Kronos' son, to be reared. 

"But the heads of all these chapters you know well. 

Point me now clearly, honored citizens, the house of my 

fathers, lords of white horses. 
I am one of you, Aispn's child, and this soil I tread is not 

alien. 

And the divine beast when he spoke to me called me Jason." 
He said; and his father's eyes, as he came in the house, knew 

him, 

and tears gathered and fell from the withered eyelids 
for joy in his heart, as he saw his chosen son 
a man, and splendid beyond all others. 

61 



And from either side his two brothers 

came at the rumor of him : from near at hand, Pheres, leaving 

the rock Hypereian, 
and from far Messana, Amythaon; and with speed came 

Admetos also and Melampos 
to their cousin's side. And in the feast's spell 
with words of love Jason gave them entertainment, 
appointing the feast of fellowship with all delight for these 

men 

assembled, reaping five nights together and five days 
the hallowed blossoming of life's luxury. 

But on the sixth he laid all the urgent tale open from the 

beginning 
to his kinsmen. And they followed his guidance. Suddenly 

from their benches 
they sprang up, he and they together. They came to the hall 

of Pelias 
and thronging strode within. At the noise of their coming 

he, lovely-haired 

Tyro's child, stood forth to meet them. But Jason, 
letting his voice flow gently into quiet discourse, 
cast down the foundation-stone of wise argument: "Son of 

Poseidon 

"of the Rock: the hearts of mortals are all too rapid 

to take the crooked way of gain over righteousness, though 

they edge withal to the rough reckoning day. 
But it beseems you and me, tempering our passion, to weave 

wealth in our time. 

You know well what I mean. One dam mothered Kretheus 
and reckless Salmoneus, whence, in the third generation 
born, you and I gaze on the golden strength of the sun. 
The very Fates, their faces veiled for shame, stand apart 
before hatred growing among blood kinsmen. 

62 



"It is not for us by brazen edge of the sword 

or with spears to divide our great patrimony. Behold: I 

release to you 

the sheep, and all the tawny herds of cattle you wrested once 
from my people, and administer to make fat your wealth. 
It grieves me nothing that thereby you advanced your estate 

so far. 
But the scepter of single rule and the throne, where Aison, 

Kretheus' son, in his sessions 
made straight the dooms for a knightly multitude 
these, with no strife joined between us, 

"surrender to me; lest you make some fresh disaster to rise." 

He spoke, and mildly in his turn Pelias made answer : "Such 
a man 

will I be. But the elder spell of life 

is on me, while your youth gathers even now to its blossom- 
ing. You have strength to lift 

the wrath of the undergods. Phrixos calls us to journey 

to Aietes* house, and bring home his ghost 

and the deep fleece of the ram whereby he fled death at sea 

"and the godless weapons of his stepmother. 

The weird dream-shape haunts me and speaks. And I have 

taken counsel at the shrine by Kastalia 
what shift to make; the god's behest is in speed to appoint a 

sea-venture. 

Take this endeavor upon yourself and achieve it; I swear 
I will yield you the whole kingship. Let Zeus 
of our fathers be witness, to bind us under a strong oath." 
These two assenting to the compact were parted. 
But Jason now in his own right 

Sped heralds abroad with news of the voyage that was be- 
ginning. 

In speed came three sons of Kronian Zeus, heroes wearied 
never in battle, 

63 



Alkmana's son and two by Leda of the glancing eyes; and 

two deep-haired men 

sprung of Poseidon, heroes whose thoughts were of valor 
from Pylos and the rock of Tainaron; thereby splendor 
of glory was brought to fulfilment for Euphamos, and for 

you, Periklymenos the mighty. 

And of Apollo's blood the harper came and father of lyric 
voices, Orpheus the admired. 

Hermes also of the golden staff sent twin sons on this labor 
relentless, 

Erytos and Echion in the laughing pride of their youth. And 
two 

that were swift came, dwellers beside the Pangaios pastures. 

For of his own will and with heart favorable, Boreas, king 
of the winds, 

their father, sent Zetes and Kalais, men with backs 

ruffled to two red wings. 

And Hera inflamed overpowering sweet desire in the demi- 
gods 

for the ship Argo; lest any, left at home, 

sit mulling beside his mother a life with no danger; rather 

against death even 
they found the fairest defense that essence of valor in their 

own fellowship. 
Such company, flower of seafarers, came down to the sea 

at lolkos, 

and Jason assembled them and admired all. The seer 
Mopsos, making prophecy by birds and the sacred lots, 
sent with good augury the host on board; and when 
they had slung the anchors at the cutwater, 

the leader, taking a golden bowl in his hands 
at the stern, intreated Uranian Zeus our father, of the thun- 
derspear, invoked 

64 



fleet-running currents of the waves, winds, nights, and the 

sea's ways 
and days to be favorable, and the dear doom of homecoming 

at the end. 

And out of the clouds Zeus, answering, called back a mantic 
peal of thunder; and the bright branches of sheer lightning 

broke in flame. 

The heroes, trusting the signs apparent of God, 
drew breath; and the prophet cried aloud, 

bespeaking glad expectations, to bend to their sweeps; 
and slakeless the oars went dipping from the speed in their 

hands. 
On a following southwest wind they came to the Euxine 

mouth, 

and founded there a holy precinct to the sea-god Poseidon, 
and a red herd of Thracian bulls was dedicated 
with the slab of an altar new-founded upon piled stones. 
Straining now into deep danger, they supplicated the lord of 

ships 

to escape the stark collision of the Clashing 

Rocks. These were two, and alive; they rolled together, with 

shock more fleet 
than the battalions of thunderous winds; but even now that 

sailing 

of demigods brought their death. To Phasis thereafter 
they came, to meet in their strength the dark men of Kolchis 
at the house of King Aietes. But Aphrodite, lady of Kypros, 
mistress of rending arrows, sent down from Olympos the 

bright wryneck, 
binding crosswise over a breakless wheel 

the passionate bird, that was brought that time first 
to mortal man; and she made Aisonides, Jason, wise in 
charm and incantation 

65 



that he might loosen Medeia's shame for her parents, and 

Hellas be all her desire, 
that her heart ablaze under the lash of longing be set in 

tumult. 
And she revealed forthwith the secret of the trials her father 

would set, 

and with oil medicating simples against stark pain 
gave them for his use. And they compacted marriage to be 
joined thereafter in all delight between them. 

Now when Aietes before them all had driven home the steel 

plowshare, 
those oxen, that blew from their tawny jaws the flame of 

ravening fire 

and tore the soil with brazen hoofs as they passed, 
these he led and forced their necks to the yoke, single-handed; 

then, running the furrow straight, 
drove, and ripped six feet deep the back of earth. 
He spoke then : "Let the king, whoever he be, 
lord of the ship, do this for me; then take away the robe 

unperishing, 

"the bright fleece tasseled in gold." 

He ended, and Jason, reliant on God, threw down his saffron 
mantle 

and stepped to the work. Flame, by craft of the strange witch- 
maiden, harmed him not. 

Gripping the plow, he bent the necks of the oxen under, 

binding the yoke upon them, and by main strength of his 
shoulders, 

with the fell goad laid on, plowed the whole length perforce. 

Aietes, even in pained and speechless amazement, 

gasped, admiring that act of strength; 

and his friends held out their arms to the man in his might 
and with leaf -woven garlands crowned him, and spoke him 
fair with admiring words. 

66 



Straightway Helios' wonderful son spoke of the shining 

fleece 

where Phrixos' knife had flayed and hung it. 
His hope was that not even so could the man accomplish that 

labor, 
for it was set in a thicket, and guarded by the rending fangs 

of a great snake 

that for measure and thickness outpassed a galley of fifty oars 
the ax's stroke has labored to build. 

The high road is long for me to travel, and time closes. I 

know 

a short path, I that guide many another in the craft of singers. 
By guile he slew the green-eyed serpent of the burnished 

scales, 
O Arkesilas, and stole away Medeia, with her good will, she 

that was bane to Pelias. 

They touched the gulfs of Ocean and the Red Sea, 
and at Lemnos the breed of women that had slain their 

lords; 
and there in games, for prize of raiment, displayed the 

strength in their limbs. 

They lay with these women. And in this strange soil dropped, 
day, or night season that was destined, took up the seed of 

your shining 
wealth to come. There gendered the blood of Euphamos 

waxed 

into the rest of time. These lived with the men of Lakedaimon 
and in their ways; at last colonized the Lovely Island, 
Thera; whence Apollo, Lato's son, has granted Libya's plain 

to be yours, 

to make great in God's right, and the city divine 
of golden-throned Kyrene to be administered 

while you find wisdom yours to make counsel of righteous- 
ness. 

67 



Know now the wisdom of Oidipous: "If, with the cutting 

edge of the ax, men shear 

the branches of a great oak, and defile its glorious symmetry, 
spent though its issue be, it gives account of its worth 
if it be brought at last to the winter fire 
or with upright columns prop a palace 
and shoulder the bitter burden in strange walls, 
leaving its own place desolate." 

But you are a healer in season, and Apollo Paian knows your 

glory. 
You must tend the ulcered wound, laying a gentle hand on 

the place. 

It is a light thing even for a weak man to shake a city, 
but to set it again in place is a work of pain and strength, 

unless 

God himself appear to set right the leaders. 
For you gracious ends of these endeavors are weaving. 
Be patient to work with full heart for the sake of Kyrene the 

blessed. 

Read also this, the word of Homer, 

and make it true; he said that a noble messenger brought 

highest honor to all things done. 
The Muse is increased also by true interpretation. Kyrene 

knows, 

and the storied hall of Battos, the just designs 
of Damophilos. Among the youth he is a young man, 
but in conclave an elder, as one that has met with a hundred 

years; 

he bereaves the evil mouth of its clear outcry; 
he has learned to loathe the violent man, 

but against the noble he strives not, neither delays 
accomplishment. Men's opportunity has the measure of a 
brief thing. 



He knows this well; as a henchman he follows you, no slave. 

But they say 
of all things this is bitterest, to know the right way, but be 

bound 

by constraint of foot abroad. The great Atlas even now 
struggles under the weight of the sky, far from his father's 

lands and his own possessions. 
But Zeus immortal set free the Titans. With time 
sails change as the winds die down. 

His prayer is that, when he has drained to the lees his bitter 

affliction, 

he may see home, and by Apollo's spring in the festival time 
give over his heart to gladness often, and among his own 

people 
that are wise lift up the elaborate lyre and touch the strings 

in peace, 
devising no grief for any man, and himself not grieved by his 

fellows. 

And he might tell you, Arkesilas, as a tale 
the spring of immortal words he found of late as a guest in 

Thebes. 



PYTHIA 5 

Wide is the strength of wealth 

when mixed with stainless virtue 

and, granted of destiny, mortal man leads it home, 

most dear companion. 

Arkesilas, God's destiny is on you; 

from the towering stairs 

of your renowned life 

you approach it in glory 

by Kastor's favor, of the golden chariot, 

who, after storm of winter, makes 

your hearth shine in the blessed quiet. 

Even power granted of God 

is carried the better for wisdom. 

You walk in righteousness, and great prosperity is unceasing 

about you, 

twice over: since you are king 
of great cities, 
for this high privilege 
is a shining heritage in your house, 
which matches your own temper; 
and blessed are you even now, in that, 
winning from the famed Pythiad success with horses, your 

prayer's end, 
you are given this festal choir of men, 

delight of Apollo; whereby, forget not, 

as you are sung at Kyrene's sweet garden of Aphrodite, 

to ascribe all cause to God 

and love Karrhotos beyond all companions. 

70 



To the house of the swayed kings in the line of Battos 
he led not by the hand late-thinking 
Epimetheus' daughter, Excuse; 
rather, beside Kastalia's 

spring, a stranger, he laid on your hair the garland of the 
highest, for chariots. 

With reins untangled 

through the field of twelve fleet courses 

he shattered no strength of his gear. The skilled 

smith's intricate 

work of hand he brought, passing 

the hill of Krisa, is hung 

in the God's hollow glade, 

where the cypress-wood chamber 

keeps it, next that image, 

the tree's single growth, that the archer Kretans 

dedicated to the king of Parnassos. 

With fain heart it becomes you 

now to greet him. He has done well. 

Son of Alexibias, the fair-haired Graces flare about you. 

Blessed are you, that even 

after the huge toil 

you have remembrance in mighty 

words. Among forty 

charioteers who fell, you brought 

perfect your car through, and with heart unshaken, 

and are come home from the shining of the games' 

prizes to the plain of Libya and the city of your fathers. 

No man is unallotted of labors, nor shall be; 

but the prosperity from of old of Battos follows still, its course 

various, 

tower of the city and eyes' shining 
on strangers. Even deep-vaunting 
lions fled him for fear 

71 



when he brought against them his speech of overseas. 

And Apollo, leader of foundations, 

gave the beasts over to flight and terror, 

lest he be false in prophecy to the lord of Kyrene 

Apollo, who administers 

to men and women healing of heavy sickness; 

who gave the lyre and grants the Muse to whom he will, 

bringing into their hearts 

lawfulness without discord; 

who sways the closed mantic 

chamber. In which power at Lakedaimon, 

in Argos and Pylos the sacrosanct 

he has made dwell the strong sons 

of Aigimios and of Herakles. Mine to sing 

from Sparta the delight and the glory, 

Sparta, whence begotten, 

men of the stock of Aigeus came to Thera, 

my fathers, not without gods, but a destiny led them. 

Thereafter, Apollo Karneian, 

in your festival, unfolding 

contribution of much sacrifice, 

we worship Kyrene's city 

in its foundation of might; 

city held also of strangers delighting in brazen warfare, 

Trojans, Antenor's children, that came with Helen 

when they had seen their own city smoking 

in Ares. Men come now with gifts in their hands 

and in due care propitiate with sacrifice a people of horses. 

These are the men Aristoteles brought in fleet ships, 

making open the deep ways of the salt water. 

He founded the mightier groves of the gods, 

and, with processionals to Apollo 

that avert ills, he established 

the paved street in the plain 

72 



to be trampled of horses; there at the edge of the market 
place he lies apart in death. 

Blessed he lived among men, 

and therafter he is a hero the people worship. 

And apart before his house are other holy 

kings, who have death for their lot, 

and with perception under the earth 

hear great achievement 

drenched in the delicate dew 

of hymns outpoured: their own 

wealth and the grace deserved and held in common 

with Arkesilas, their son. And in choir of young men 

it beseems him now to invoke Phoibos of the golden sword, 

who holds from Pytho 

the ransom for expense in splendor of victory, 

song's grace. This man is praised of the wise. 

I speak what men say. 

He ministers a mind 

that outruns his years; 

speech also; for daring he is the eagle 

of wide wings among birds; 

in games, strength, like a wall; 

among the Muses he goes lightfooted from birth; 

he has approved himself a subtle charioteer. 

To all splendors in his own land he has dared 
the entrance; now God, favoring, makes perfect his power, 
and hereafter, you blessed sons of Kronos, 
may you grant him in action as in deliberation 
such things to have; let no autumn storm-blast 
of winds break the bloom. 
The great mind of Zeus guides 
the angel in men he loves. 

I pray that at Olympia also he will give this honor into the 
house of Battos. 

73 



PYTHIA 6 

Listen! It is the field of Aphrodite 

with the fluttering eyes or the Graces 

we labor now. We approach the templed 

centerstone of the thunderous earth. 

There stands builded for the glory of Emmenos' children 

and Akragas of the river, and for Xenokrates, 

a treasure house of song 

for victory at Pytho in Apollo's 

glen, with its burden of gold. 

Neither rain driven from afar on the storm, 

not the merciless armies 

of the crying cloud, no wind shall sweep it, caught 

and stricken with the blown debris into the corners 

of the sea. The front shines in the clear air, 

Thrasyboulos, on your father announcing 

for you and yours the pride 

of a chariot victory in the folds of Krisa 

a tale to run on the lips of men. 

You, keeping Victory erect beside your right hand, 

bring home the meaning 

of the things men say once on the mountain Chiron, 

Philyra's son, urged on strong Peleiades 

left in his care: First of all gods, honor 

the deep-voiced lord of the lightning and thunderstroke, 

Zeus Kronides; 

next, through all their destiny never deprive 

your parents of such reverence even as this. 

In the old days mighty Antilochos proved one 
who lived in that word. 

74 



He died for his father, standing up 

to the murderous onset of the Aithiop champion, 

Memnon; for Nestor's horse, smitten by the shaft of Paris, 

had fouled the chariot, and Memnon attacked 

with his tremendous spear. 

And the old Messenian was shaken 

at heart and cried aloud on his son's name. 

And the word he flung faltered not to the ground; in that 

place 

standing, the young man 

in his splendor bought by his own death his father's rescue, 
And of those who lived long ago men judged him 
pre-eminent among the youth for devotion 
to those who begot them, for that terrible deed. 
All that is past. 

Of men living now, Thrasyboulos 
comes beyond others to the mark in his father's eyes, 

and visits his father's brother with fame complete. 

He carries wealth with discretion. 

The blossom of youth he gathers is nothing violent, 

but wise in the devious ways of the Muses. 

To you, Poseidon, shaker of the earth, lord 

of the mastering of horses, he comes, with mind to please 

you. 

Also his heart, that is gentle 
in the mixing of friends, 
passes for sweetness the riddled work of the bees. 



75 



PYTHIA 7 

The great city of Athens is the loveliest 

invocation, to cast down as foundation stone for the song 

to magnify the wide-flung strength of the sons of Alkmaion, 

and their victory with horses. 

What country could you live in? what habitation? and name 
one more conspicuous 
for all Hellas to attend. 

In every city the tale is an intimate thing 

of the citizens of Erechtheus. At holy Pytho, Apollo, 

they made magnificent the front of your templed house. 

I am guided by five wins at the Isthmos, one pre-eminent 

at Olympia, Zeus' own, 

two victories gained from Kirrha 

yours, Megakles, and your fathers' before you. 

In your late success I find some pleasure, but am troubled 

at rancor changing beautiful things done. Even so, men say, 

blessedness that remains 

by a man to blossom over him brings, 

with good, some things that are otherwise. 



76 



PYTHIA 8 

Hesychia, kind goddess of peace, daughter 

of Justice and lady of the greatness of cities: 

you who hold the high keys 

of wars and of councils, 

accept for Aristomenes this train of Pythian victory. 

For you understand, in strict measure of season, 

deeds of gentleness and their experience likewise. 

And you, when one fixes 

anger without pity fast in his heart, 

are stern to encounter 

the strength of the hateful ones, and sink 

pride in the bilge. Porphyrion understood you not 

when wantonly he vexed you. Gain is sweet 

if one carry it from the house of him who gives in good will. 

But violence and high vaunting fail at the last. 

Typhon the Kilikian, the hundred-headed, avoided not this, 

nor yet the king of the Giants. They were smitten down by 

the thunderbolt 

and the bow of Apollo, who now in mood of kindness 
has received Xenarkes' son, home from Kirrha and garlanded 
with leaves of Parnassos and with song in the Dorian strain. 

This island, that in its city's 
righteousness has touched 
the famed valors of the Aiakidai, has 
fallen away from the Graces. She k< 
glory perfect from the beginning 
for her shaping of heroes that sur 
of games, and in the speed of th< 

77 




These things shine in her men likewise. 

In my haste I cannot lay 

leisure of long-drawn speech 

on the lyre and the soft singing, 

lest surfeit come to vex. Let your own need, my child, 

and your youngest splendors run the path at my feet, 

made a thing of speed by my fashioning. 

For at wrestling you go the way of your mother's brethren, 
nor shame Theognetos at Olympia, 
nor Kleitomachos' victory of tough limbs at Isthmos. 
Prospering the city of the Meidylidai, you wear the saying 
Oikleos' son spoke darkly once, as he watched 
the young men enduring the spears in the seven gates of 
Thebes, 

when the latter-born came again 

to Argos, a second journey. 

Thus he spoke, in their striving: 

"The heritage of valor from their fathers shines 

through in the sons' blood. I gaze in wonder and see plain 

Alkmaon steering the spangled snake on his bright 

shield, foremost in the gates of Kadmos. 

"And he that flinched in that first disaster, 

the hero Adrastos, now 

goes compassed by message of augury 

more favorable. Yet in his own house 

otherwise shall he fare. Alone out of the Danaan host, 

he shall gather the ashes of his son perished, and by the gods' 

chance 
shall come home with the rest of his people scatheless 

"to the wide streets of the city of Abas." Thus 

the voice of Amphiaraos. And I also take joy 

to cast a garland on Alkmaon and drench him in song. 

78 



He is my neighbor and the keeper of my possessions; 

he met me in the way as I went to the singing centerstone of 

the earth, 
and with the sooth that is his by blood made prophecy. 

But you, archer of the far cast, lord 

of the famed temple, where all gather, 

in the deep folds of Pytho, 

have granted this boy delight that is highest; 

and, aforetime, a gift to fold in the arms, 

you brought him home in triumph of your own five-contests. 

My lord, I pray you that of my heart's will 

I look on each thing in my course 
even as you look also. 
Justice herself stands over 

the sweet singing in celebration; but I ask, Xenarkes, 
the gods' gaze unresentful upon your fortunes. 
For if one, even without long-drawn labors, compass splen- 
dors, 
to many he seems as a wise man among fools 

to crown his life with device and straight counsels. 
Yet this lies not with men; God's luck is the giver, 
that casts one man now aloft, and yet another beneath his 

hand. 

Come back to measure. You have your prize at Megara, 
and in the recess of Marathon; and with three successes, 
Aristomenes, you have won at home the games of Hera. 

And above four bodies you threw 
your weight and your rage. 
To these lads was ordained 
at the Pythiad no delightful homefaring, 
nor, as they came to their mothers, did laughter break sweetly 
about them 

79 



to stir delight. Down back ways, avoiding mockers, 
they skulk, all stricken with their sad fortune. 

But he that has won some new 

splendor, in high pride 

of hope rides the air 

on the wings of his man's strength, and keeps 

desire beyond his wealth. In brief space mortals' 

delight is exalted, and thus again it drops to the ground, 

shaken by a backward doom. 

We are things of a day. What are we? What are we not ? The 

shadow of a dream 
is man, no more. But when the brightness comes, and God 

gives it, 

there is a shining of light on men, and their life is sweet. 
Aigina, dear mother, bring this city to haven 
in free guise, by Zeus' aid and strong Aiakos', 
Peleus and goodly Telamon aiding, and with Achilles. 



80 



PYTH1A 9 

My desire, with the deep-girdled Graces aiding, 
is to sing Telesikrates, proclaiming him 
Pythian conqueror in the race with the brazen shield, 
a blessed man and a garland upon Kyrene, mistress of char- 
iots 
Kyrene that once from the windy folds of Pelion Lato's son 

Apollo, he of the flowing hair, 

carried away, a wild maiden, in his car of gold, to make her 
dwell as queen in a country rich in flocks, in grain most rich, 
flowering and desired, third branch of the mighty earth. 

And Aphrodite, she whose feet are as silver, welcomed 

her brother of Delos, laying a light hand 

on the chariot built by skill of gods. 

Over the delight of their bed she cast a spell of winsome shy- 
ness, 

joining the close union of the god lying with the daughter of 
powerful Hypseus, 

king in that time of the haughty Lapiths and a hero in the 
second generation 

from Ocean; whom on a time in the storied valleys of Pindos 

a naiad nymph, Kreousa, brought to birth, after her joy with 
Peneus; 

Earth's daughter. And Hypseus reared a child, 

Kyrene of the white arms. She loved not the shuttling ways 

of the loom, 
nor joy of circling dances in the house with the mates of her 

age, 

but with bronze shod throwing spears 
and the sword's blade, she encountered and slew wild beasts, 

81 



bringing great quietness and peace upon 

her father's herds; and little time she had for sleep, sweet 

night 

companion, nor let it lie 
long over her eyes at the breaking time of dawn. 

Apollo, of the broad quiver and arrows that range 

afar, saw her one day, wrestling alone, 

unarmed, with a fell lion. Straightway, 

lifting his voice, he called from his chamber of stone Chiron: 

"Son of Philyra, leave your grave cavern to admire the 

strength of a girl 
and her spirit also, the fight she carries cool-headed; a 

maiden with heart too high 

for distress. Her bosom knows not the winter of fear. 
What mortal could have begotten her ? From what nurture 

torn 

"keeps she the secret places of the shadowy hills ? 

Her valor is of that which has no ending. 

Might it be becoming if I were to lay 

my famed hand on her body, even cull the delicate meadows 

in her bed?" 
And the centaur, prophetic, with a cool smile and a lift of 

his brow, made answer 
straightway : "Secret are the keys kept of wise Persuasion to 

love's sacraments, 

Phoibos; gods would blush and men likewise to enter 
openly before all on the delight of love's first encounter. 

"And you, whom lies are forbidden to touch, 

some genial humor has stirred you to this irony. Whence the 

race of this girl 

you ask, my lord? You know the appointed end 
of each thing and the ways they are brought to pass; 
and the number of the spring leaves earth blossoms, the 

number 

82 



of the sands in the sea and the rivers, 

shaken by the waves and the streaming winds; and things to 

be 

and whence they shall come to pass. All this you know. 
But if I must match myself against your wisdom, 

"I will speak: you have come to this glade 

her bridegroom. You shall carry her over the sea 

to the favored garden place of God. 

There you shall make her queen of a city, assembling 

a people of islanders to the ness between two plains; and 

Libya, lady of fair meadows, 
shall welcome gladly in the golden house the bride in her 

glory. She shall be given 

straightway and in full measure an allotment of earth 
not without destiny of various growing things, nor unknown 

of beasts. 

"There she will bear a son whom glorious Hermes, 
lifting from the side of his beloved mother, will bring 
to the Hours and Earth in their thrones of magnificence. 
These, admiring in the brightness the child at their knees, 
will minister to his lips ambrosia and nectar, and make him 

to be immortal, 
a Zeus, a holy Apollo, a delight to men, beloved and trusty 

keeper of flocks, 
to be called spirit of the wilds and the pastures, and to some 

Aristaios." 
With these words he made ready the wedding's sweet 

accomplishment. 

Rapid is the action of gods quickened 

to move, and brief their ways. That day those things were 

done. In the golden chamber 

of Libya they were brought together. There she sways 
a city of loveliness and glory in contests. 

83 



Even now at Pytho the sacrosanct, Karneiades' son 

has brought her close to the flowering of success; 

by his victory he has made Kyrene shine afar, and she in 

kindness will welcome him 
back to that city of lovely women, 
bringing from Delphoi home the winsome glory. 

High achievements run ever to many words, 

but to elaborate few things among many 

for the wise is to be heard. But Season in all things 

keeps the utter heights. Thebes of the seven gates 

upon a day knew lolaos, how he failed not this. He severed 

Eurystheus' 
head with the sword's edge, and they laid him under the 

earth at the tomb of the charioteer, 
Amphitryon, his forefather, where he lay, guest-friend to the 

men of the dragon's teeth, 
a dweller now in the city of the Kadmeians and the streets 

with white horses. 

Joined to him and to Zeus, Alkmana 

the wise in a single travail bore 

the overmastering strength in battle of twin sons. 

Stupid is the man, whoever he be, whose lips defend not 

Herakles, 
who remembers not the waters of Dirke that gave him life, 

and Iphikles. 
I, who have had some grace of them, shall accomplish my 

vow to bring them glory; let only the shining 
light of the singing Graces fail me not. Ere now, I say that at 

Aigina 
and beside the hill of Nisos three times I have sung the 

praise of this city, 

escaping in proof the embarassment of silence. 
Therefore, be a citizen friend or opponent, let him not darken 
the thing 

84 



labored well for the good of all, but keep the word of the 

sea's ancient, 

who gave counsel to praise even the foeman 
that with all his heart and in righteousness accomplishes fair 

things. 
In the seasonable games of Pallas, Telesikrates, the maidens 

and women who saw you conquer prayed 
voiceless and each aside that you might be 
beloved husband or else as a son to them. 

So also at the Olympian games, those 

of Earth the deep-bosomed, and the games in the cities. 

I, staunching the thirst of song, 

am driven by some need once again to waken the memory, 

ancient though it be, of your fathers : how they came for the 

sake of a Libyan woman 
to Irasa city, suitors for Antaios' glorious daughter of the 

lovely hair. 

Many were the princes among her kindred who sought her 
hand, and many outlanders also. There was a splendor 

of beauty upon her, and their will was to reap 

the flowering pride of youth of the gold garlands that was 

hers. 

Her father designed for his child a bridal to be famed 
afar. He had heard how Danaos once in Argos 
had caused his eight and forty daughters to be bestowed in 

marriage most fleet 
before midday was sped; for he let the whole choir of them 

stand at the edge of the running field 
and in competitions for speed of foot disposed 
the maiden to be given each hero of all his sons-in-law. 

Thus Antaios bestowed his daughter, finding her a Libyan 
youth to wed. She was set at the mark in her glory, to be the 
prize, 

85 



and he spoke in their midst : that man should have her who 

in his driving pace 
caught first at her robe's edge. 
Alexidamos, run free of the straining pack, 
took by the hand the grave maiden 
and led her away through the multitude of the nomad riders. 

Many flowers 

they heaped upon them, and garlands, even 
as many were the wings of victory he had put on him in 

time before. 



86 



PYTHIA 10 

Blessed is Lakedaimon, 

happy Thessaly. Both have kings of one line 

from Herakles, best in battle. 

Is this boasting to no point? But Pytho and Pelinna lead me 

on, and Aleuas' sons, to bring to Hippokleas 

ringing praise of a chorus of men. 

He has his share of prizes. 

In the host of the dwellers-about, the crook of Parnassos 

knew him best of boys in the double race. 

Apollo, the end is made sweet and the beginning 

for men when God drives; by your design he did it, 

only he stepped in the tracks of his father, 

Olympic winner twice in the warlike 

armor of Ares, 

and the games in the deep meadow under Kirrha's 

rocks saw Phrikias best of sprinters. 

May destiny, closing in later days, 

make wealth blossom to glory about them. 

Out of the joys in Hellas 

let them take no small share, never encounter 

the gods' thought shifting to evil. To be without grief 

of heart is to be god; but blessed, worthy the poet's song, is 

the man 

who by excellence of hand and speed in his feet 
takes by strength and daring the highest of prizes, 

living yet, sees his son 

in the turn of his youth reaping Pythian garlands. 

87 



He cannot walk in the brazen sky, but among 
those goods that we of mortality attain to he goes 
the whole way. Never on foot or ship could you find 
the marvelous road to the feast of the- Hyperboreans. 

Perseus came to them once, a leader of men, 

entered their houses, 

found them making hecatombs of asses 

to Apollo, who in their joyance and favorable 

speech rejoices, and smiles to see 

the rampant lust of the lewd beasts. 

Never the Muse is absent 

from their ways: lyres clash, and the flutes cry, 

and everywhere maiden choruses whirling. 

They bind their hair in golden laurel and take their holiday. 

Neither disease nor bitter old age is mixed 

in their sacred blood; far from labor and battle 

they live; they escape Nemesis, 

the over just. Danae's son came that day, 

breathing strength in his heart, and Athene led him 

to mix with those blessed men. He killed the Gorgon, came 

bearing the head, intricate with the snake hair, 

the stone death to the islanders. It is not mine 

to wonder; when the gods appoint it, 

nothing is too strange. 

Check the oar now, grapple the anchor quick to the 

beach at the prow, guard at the rock-reef. 

See, the shimmering of the song's praise 

skims as a bee does, story to story. 

Now as the Ephyraians 

shed my sweet song at the Peneios banks, I hope 

even more to make with songs for the garlands' sake 



Hippokleas honored among the youth and his elders, 
and to young maidens a troubled thought, for, as 
the age changes, new loves flutter the heart. 

That which a man desires, 

if he grasp, he must keep it in care beside him. 

A year hence nothing is plain to see. 

My trust is in the hospitality of Thorax; his favor, wafted, 

yoked me this chariot of the Pierides, 

friend to friend, leader to leader in kindness. 

Gold shines gold when you test it 

and the right wisdom. 

Also I shall praise the noble brothers, because 

they carry aloft the Thessalian way 

and increase it. In their good hands is rested 

the gift of their fathers, excellent government of cities. 



89 



PYTH1A 11 

Daughters of Kadmos, Semele, dweller among the Olym- 
pians, 

and Ino, the white goddess, 

keeper of the chambered sea among Nereus* daughters, 

come in company of Herakles' mother 

of high degree to Melia and the shrine that is treasure house 
of golden 

tripods, honored beyond all else of Apollo, 

who has named it Ismenian, true seat of prophecy. 

Children of Harmonia, there 

he summons you, a conclave of fiefed queens 

to assemble together 

and sing Themis, Pytho, and the earth's 

center, where the decrees are strict, at the edge of evening: 

a grace on Thebes of the seven 

gates, and the contest at Kirrha, 

where Thrasydaios woke the fame of the hearth 

of his fathers, casting upon it a third garland, 

victor in the abundant lands of Pylades 

that was friend of old to Lakonian Orestes. 

Him, as his father fell, cut down by Klytaimnestra's 
strong hands, the nurse 

Arsinoe snatched from the treacherous act of death, 
even as the queen with stroke of gray bronze sent 
Dardanian Priam's daughter, 

Kassandra, to pass with Agamemnon's ghost to the shadowy 
strand of Acheron, 

90 



a pitiless lady. Was it Iphigeneia, who at the Euripos crossing 

was slaughtered far from home, 

that vexed her to drive in anger the hand of violence? 

Or was it couching in a strange bed 

by night that broke her will and set her awry for young 

wives 
a sin most vile, and that may not be hidden ever 

from neighbors and their speech. 
Fellow-citizens are fain to speak evil. 
Grand wealth keeps envy to match its bulk, 
while he who breathes low speaks and none hear. 
Atreides, the hero, returning home in time delayed, 
fell at Amyklai the glorious, 

and brought to her death also the mantic maiden, after 

he had broken from their delicacy of wealth the houses of 

Troy, 
burned with fire for the sake of Helen. But Orestes, the young 

head of a kingdom, 
came to his aged friend, Strophios, 
at his home beside the foot of Parnassos; and with late-visited 

Ares 
slew his mother, and laid Aigisthos low in his blood. 

Friends, have I been whirled about at the shift of the cross- 
roads, 

though I went the right way before? 

Has some gale driven me from 

my course, like a boat on the sea? 

Muse, it rests with you, if for hire you have contracted me to 
render 

my silvered voice, to stir one theme and another 

for this man's father Pythonikos 

and again for Thrasydaios. 

The kindliness of glory burns as a light about them. 

91 



Long ago with chariots they were made beautiful with suc- 
cess. 

At Olympia, and the games bespoken afar, 
the running nimbus of victory in the horse race was theirs, 

and now at Pytho they have come down into the naked 

course to deny 

the assembled host of the Hellenes 
by the speed in their feet. May God grant me love for that 

which has splendor; 

but in this time of my life let me strive for attainable things; 
for I have looked in the city and found the middle estate 

flowers 
in prosperity far longer. I scorn the destiny of tyrants. 

I am strung to the common virtues; the envious are put aside. 
Of these if a man win the uttermost 
and, shepherding it in peace, escape the blame 
of pride, more beautiful is the ending he makes 
in dark death, and to his sweet posterity 
hands down the mightiest of possessions, grace of good 
name. 

Such grace as makes glorious Iphikles' 

son, lolaos, a hero 

of songs, and the great strength of Kastor, 

and you, lord Polydeukes, twin sons of gods 

who dwell by day in the founded earth of Therapne, 

by night on Olympos. 



92 



PYTHIA 12 

Beloved brightness, loveliest of the cities of mortals, 
house of Persephone, you who keep by the banks of Akragas 
where the sheep wander, the templed hill I beseech you, 

lady, 

graciously, in the kindness of men and immortals likewise, 
accept from Pytho this garland for splendid Midas; 
accept him also. He has beaten Hellas at the art that once 
Pallas Athene found when she followed in song 
the death dirge of the bitter Gorgons. 

She heard that melody in the agony of their sorrow, dripping 
down from the forbidding, snake-locked heads of the 

maidens, 

after Perseus slew one of the three sisters 
and brought home death to the people in Seriphos by the sea. 
Surely he blinded the strange race of Phorkos 
and made a bitterness of the feast of Polydektes, and his 

mother's 

long slavery and her bed of necessity, 
by drawing forth the head of lovely Medusa, 

he, Danae's son, who, I affirm, was born of the raining gold. 
The maiden goddess, when she had saved her friend 

from distress, discovered the polyphonal music of flutes, 

with instruments to mimic the wailing clamor 

that grew from the mouthing jaws of Euryalj^ 

The goddess found it and, finding, gave it ttfrndSfifTio use, 

naming it the melody many-headed, ^ 

splendid herald of rivalries to rouse peopled 

93 



rippling forth from the thin bronze bound on reeds 

that dwell next to the Graces' city of lovely meadows 

in the holy domain of Kephisos, fair witnesses to the dancers. 

Success for men, if it comes ever, comes not unattended 

with difficulty. A god can end it, even 

today. That which is fated you cannot escape. But a time 

will come 

such that it will strike in amazement beyond 
expectation, to give one thing desired, to withhold another. 



94 



NEMEA 1 

Grave child of the waters of Alpheus, 

leafed branch of glorious Syracuse, Ortygia, 

resting place of Artemis, 

sister of Delos, from you the sweetly spoken 

hymn begins, to shape 

the great strain of praise for horses with storm in their feet, 

by grace of Zeus on Aitna; 
and the chariot of Chromios is urgent with me, and Nemea, 

to link the song of glory for triumph in contests. 

The beginnings are cast down by the gods, 

aided by that man's divine gifts. 

The uttermost of reputation lies 

in achievement; for high trials 

the Muse would be remembered in singing. 

Scatter, now, some glory on this island, that the lord of 

Olympos, 
Zeus, gave Persephone, and bowed his head to assent, the 

pride of the blossoming earth, 

Sicily, the rich, to control under towering cities 

opulent; 

Kronion granted her also 

a people eager in brazen warfare, 

horsemen; a people garlanded over and again with the 

golden leaves of olive 
Olympian. I mount this occasion 
for manifold praise, nor cast my words in falsehood. 

I stand at the courtyard gates 

of a generous host and lead the lovely song. 

95 



There the delight of the feast 
is ordered to splendor, the house knows well 
guests that throng from afar. 

It is the privilege of great men to quench the smoke of envy 
against traducers. Skills vary with the man. We must tread a 
straight path and strive by that which is born in us; 

for strength is realized in action, 
and mind in council, predicting the way to come 
of inborn nature. 

Son of Agesidamos, in the way of your nature lies 
that which will achieve all manner of things. 
I love not vast wealth darkened deep in the house, 
but with it there to know good treatment and reputation; to 
serve friends. The hopes of men that labor long 

have some community. I give you now 

with glad heart 

Herakles, great in the high places 

of valor. I raise again an ancient story 

how, when that child of Zeus escaped the darkness of labor 

and came 

with his twin brother forth 
from his mother's loins into the brightness, * 

he came not unmarked by Hera 

of the golden throne, even in his child's wrappings saffron 

dyed; 

but the queen of the gods 

in her heart's anger sent two snakes upon him straightway. 
These came through the opened gates 
into the great inner chamber, raging to grip the children 
in their swift jaws. But Herakles raised his head upright and 

tasted his first battle, 

with two unescapable hands, 
clutching the throat of either serpent, 

96 



locked to crush 

the strangling breath from their terrible bodies. 
But fear beyond endurance 
smote the women that tended Alkmana's lying-in, 
and she herself, barefooted as she was, sprang from the bed 
to fight the rearing monsters. 

And with speed the lords of the Kadmeians, assembled 

in armor 

of bronze, ran in; and Amphitryon, 

shaking in his hand the sword torn from its sheath, 

came stricken with savage doubt. That which is close to 

home afflicts all alike, 
but a heart soon goes free of grief 
over a stranger's unhappiness. 

He stood in painful amazement mixed 

with joy, for he saw the unnatural 

courage and strength of his son. 

The gods had ordained the upshot to contradict 

his messengers. 

But he called on his neighbor, the great prophet of Zeus on 

high, 
Teiresias, the strict seer; who told before him and all the 

company his son's encounters to be, 

all the beasts he must slay by land, 

all the beasts of the sea, brutes without right or wrong; 

likewise the man walking, crossed 

with conceit in hatef ulness, 

he must give over to death; 

and how, when the gods in the plain of Phlegra met the 

Giants in battle, 
under the storm of his shafts these also must drag their bright 

hair in the dust. 



97 



All this he told; and in time how Herakles should have the 

rest 

of eternity in peace, 
in quittance of great things done; 
rest and a life beyond all men 
in the blessed house, and with blossoming Hebe given to be 

his wife, and domain; 
and, feasting beside Kronian Zeus, 
should praise the high design of the gods. 



98 



NEMEA 2 

Even as the Homeridai, 

the rhapsode singers of stories, for the greater part 
begin with a prelude to Zeus, so this man also 
is given his first choral for victory in the sacred games at 

Nemea 
in Zeus' grove, the much-besung. 

If his life in its speed 
along the path his fathers trod has given 
glory to great Athens, it is his due 

over and again to reap the splendid flowers of Isthmian vic- 
tories, Pythian also, 
this son of Timonoos. It is fitting 

for Orion to follow 

not far behind the mountain Peleiades. 

Likewise Salamis is strong to build a man who can be 

a fighter. At Troy, Hektor gave way before Ares. O Timo- 

damos, your strength 
and patient courage in the pankration will bring you 

through. 

Acharnai's sons (it is proverbial) 

are brave men, and for contests 

the Timodamidai are pre-eminent in men's speech. 

From beside high, brooding Parnassos they brought home 

four victories in the games; 
and at the hands of the men of Korinth 

in the hollows of princely Pelops 

they have gathered into their arms ere now eight garlands, 

seven at Zeus' festival in Nemea, at home 

time beyond number. Citizens, make Zeus your song as 

Timodamos comes home in triumph. 
Strike up the sweet choral singing. 

99 



NEMEA 3 

Lady and Muse, our mother, I entreat you, 

in the holy Nemean month, come to the city thronged with 

strangers, 

the Dorian island, Aigina; for beside 
the waters of Asopos the craftsmen of lovely 
choral songs, the young men, await your voice. 
Every achievement has a different thirst, 
but victory in games longs beyond all for singing 
and the skill to glorify garlands and strength proved. 

Of such inspiration grant me abundance. 
Daughter to the cloudy king of the sky, begin 
his stately song. And I shall elaborate it 
with voice and in the lyre's strain. Gracious will be the work 
of glorification of the land where the Myrmidons lived 
in old time, whose legendary assembling place 
Aristokleides, under your destiny, lady, stained not 
with reproach, weakening under the circling strength 

of contestants in the pankration. To heal 

the painful blows taken in the deep Nemean plain, he brings 
home the splendor of victory. 

Beautiful as he is and with work not shaming his stature, 

this son of Aristophanes has come to the uttermost manliness. 
So. Further 

you cannot go lightly in the impassable sea, beyond the pil- 
lars of Herakles, 

which the heroic god set down, to mark in fame 

journey's end. He broke monsters that rose 

up out of the sea, tested the current of every 

shoal, to where the end was and the turning-point for home. 

100 



He explored the land. My heart, to what alien headland 
do you fetch my course along shore? 
I say we must bring music to Aiakos and his race. 
For highest justice attends the saying: Praise the good. 

Passions for things alien are not best for a man to have. 

Seek nearer home. You have found glory that lends occasion 

for fair speech. Among men of old, Peleus 

rejoiced in valor, who cut the spear that surpassed all others, 

who took lolkos alone, with no host behind him, 

who caught Thetis of the sea in his grasp. 

And Telamon of the vast strength 

stood by lolaos to sack Laomedon's city, 

and went with him against the Amazons strong in their 

brazen bows, 
and the terror that breaks men did not stop the force in his 

heart. 

The splendor running in the blood has much weight. 
A man can learn and yet see darkly, blow one way, then 

another, walking ever 
on uncertain feet, his mind unfinished and fed with scraps 

of a thousand virtues. 

But tawny Achilles lived in the house of Philyra 

and as yet a boy did great things; in his hands hefting 

javelins scantly tipped with iron, wind-light, 

he wreaked death in bloody combat upon wild lions; 

he struck down boars, and to the house of the Kronian 

centaur dragged the gasping carcasses, 

at six years, and thereafter for the rest of his time; 

and amazed Artemis and stern Athene, 

killing deer without hounds or treacherous nets, 
for he ran them down in his speed. I tell these talcs 
out of old time. Under his stone-caverned roof, Chiron 

101 



trained Jason, the deeply wise, and thereafter Asklepios, 

teaching the gentle-handed way of healing. 

He brought to pass the marriage 

of Nereus' daughter of the shining breasts, and nursed 

her magnificent son, waxing his heart to all things becoming, 

so that, carried on the run of the sea winds, beneath Troy 
he might stand up against the clamor and shock of spears of 

Lykians, Phrygians, 

Dardanians, and come to handstrokes with hard-fighting 
Aithiopians; and fix it in his heart that never more might 

come home 
their lord, Helenos' valiant kinsman, Memnon. 

Thence the shining of the Aiakidai has cast its light afar. 
Their blood, Zeus, is yours, and yours the victory that the 

song peals out 
in the voices of young singers, a delight for men that live 

near. 

Their music shines forth with Aristokleides also, 
who has brought this island again into men's speech of 

praise, 

and likewise by his splendid ambitions the Thearion 
of the Pythian god. The end shines through 
in the testing of actions where excellence is shown, 

as a boy among boys, a man among men, last 

among the elders, each part that makes 

our mortal life. Human destiny drives 

four excellences, with urgency to think of the thing at hand. 

This fails not here. Hail, friend. I send you this, 

mixed of pale honey 

and milk, and a liquid shining is on the mixture, 

a draught of song rippled in Aiolian flutes, 



102 



late though it come. Among birds the eagle is swift. 
Pondering his prey from afar, he plummets suddenly to blood 

the spoil in his claws. 

Clamorous daws range the low spaces of the sky. 
Aristokleides, by grace of Kleo throned on high, and your 

own will to victory, 
from Nemea and Epidauros, from Megara also, the light has 

brightened about you. 



103 



NEMEA 4 

The best healer for struggles of pain, after the issue is clear, 

is happiness; and wise songs, 

daughters of the Muses, stroke one with hands of gentleness. 

Not warm water even laps in such ease 

the body as praise molded to the lyre's measure. 

The story of things done outlives the act 

when, by the Graces' assent, 

the lips lift it up out of the deep heart. 

Let this be the proem of the hymn I cast 

for Zeus, child of Kronos, for Nemea 

and Timasarchos' wrestling; may it find favor in 

the established tower of the Aiakidai, light of fair salvation 

to all 

strangers. And if Timokritos, your father, still went warm 
in the sun's blaze, over and again with intricacy 
of lyre playing, leaning upon this melody, 
he would have chanted the splendor of his son's success; 

the chain of garlands from the games at Kleonai 

brought home; and from shining 

Athens the magnificent; at Thebes of the seven gates, 

where beside the bright tomb of Amphitryon 

the Kadmeians with good will circled him with flowers 

for Aigina's sake. Friend among friends, he came 

to the city of his hosts, to look 

upon the rich court of Herakles, 

with whom mighty Telamon long ago sacked 

Troy, slew the Meropes 

and the armed ghastly giant Alkyones 

104 



not before he had crushed with the boulder twelve 
chariots and twice as many heroes, tamers of horses, 
that rode them. The man who understands not 
this, understands not fighting; nothing 
is accomplished without loss to the man who does it. 

I am barred from telling these things by the song's rule 

and time insistent upon me, 

yet I am dragged by a new-moon magic to lay my hands 

thereon. 

Still, though the deep sea's water lie 
between, resist conspiracy; thus shall we show 
far better than our enemies, and come down to the trial in 

brightness. 

A man looking upon another in envy 
drives the vain shaft of his opinion in darkness, wavering, 

to drop groundward. Such virtue as lordly 

Destiny has bestowed on me, 

I know time surging shall bring it to the fulness ordained. 

Now, my sweet lyre, weave out 

in Lydian harmony a song beloved 

of Oinona and Kypros, where Telamonian Teukros 

is given his lordship. Aias 

keeps Salamis, after his father's right. 

And in the Euxine sea Achilles has his bright 

island. Thetis is queen 

in Phthia. Neoptolemos sways the Mainland at the strait, 

where the grazed headlands sprawl, running 

all the way down from Dodona to the Ionian 

Beside the foot of Pelion, turning 

against lolkos the hand of violence, Pelei 

over to slavery, and to the men of Haij 

He had endured the treachery of Akast 
Hippolyta, and her lewd designs. 

105 



Her lord, Pelias' son, planned death for her sake by ambush 
and the fair-wrought knife; but Chiron stood by Peleus, 
and the destiny of Zeus' design brought him through. 
When he had withstood the overwhelming force of fire, the 

savagery 

of lions, the stroke of the tearing 
claws, the ghastly teeth, 

he married one of the throned Nereids of the deep. 

He saw in a grand circle the sessions 

of the sky's kings and the kings of the sea beside him, 

the gifts they gave and the power for his race thereafter. 

Into the night beyond Gades you may not pass; bend back 

against the shore of Europe your ship's gear. 

There are no means for me 

to tell all the long tale of the sons of Aiakos. 

But I have come to the Theandridai a glad herald 

of games in their strength, 

and I unite them with Olympia, with Nemea and the Isthmos. 

They tried their strength there and came home 

not without garlands in their famed leafage, so that we all 

may know, 

Timasarchos, how your country is minister 
to hymns of victory. If you bid 
that I raise up also to Kallikles, your uncle, 

a monolith shining whiter than Parian stone: 

gold tested in the heat 

shows forth the full blaze of its glory, and the song 

of brave things done makes a man's fortune rival 

kings. Let him, who dwells now beside Acheron, 

hear yet my voice's cry, where in the contest 

of the trident wielder, Poseidon the deep-thundering, 

he was glorified with the parsley wreath of Korinth. 

106 



Euphanes, your aged forefather, would have sung gladly 

in his honor, before their kinsmen; 

and others, fellows of an age, before others; a man's hope is 

to bespeak what he has seen himself beyond all beside. 

Let one so praising Melesias parry bitterness, 

grappling the words, one not to be overthrown by sleight of 

speech, 

one whose thoughts toward the right men are kindly, 
but who will second him fiercely against his enemies. 



107 



NEMEA 5 

I am no maker of images, not one to fashion idols standing 

quiet 
on pedestals. Take ship of burden rather, or boat, delight of 

my song, 

forth from Aigina, scattering the news 
that Lampon's son, Pytheas the strong, 
has won the garland of success at Nemea, pankratiast, 
showing not yet on his cheeks the summer 
of life to bring soft blossoming. 

He has done honor to the fighting heroes descended of Zeus 

and Kronos, and the golden 
Nereids, the Aiakidai; he has honored the city his mother, a 

land beloved of strangers 

that once they prayed might be famous for ships and for men, 
standing before the altar of their father, Zeus Hellanios, 
and spread their arms in the air 
together, the renowned sons of Endais, 
with the man of great strength, Phokos 

the goddess* son, that Psamatheia 

brought forth on the beach where the sea breaks. 

I take shame to speak of a thing done 

monstrous, adventured against justice, 

how they left their island of fair fame, 

how some god drove 

these mighty men from Oinona. I stop there. Not every sheer 

truth 

is the better for showing her face. Silence also 
many times is the wisest thing for a man to have in his mind. 

108 



But if it is prosperity, or strength of hand, or the iron of war 

we must praise, let them 

dig me a long pit for leaping. The spring in my knees is light. 
The beating wings of eagles carry them over the sea. 
On Pelion was sung before these generously the song 
from the Muses' splendid choir, and among them 
Apollo, stroking the seven strings 
of his lyre with the golden plectrum, 

was leader of the changing melody. The song in the begin- 
ning was Zeus; they sang of proud Thetis 

and Peleus; how Kretheus* daughter, Hippolyta the luxu- 
rious, sought to ensnare him 

by craft, beguiling her lord, king 

of the Magnesians, by the subtlety of her designs. 

She fabricated a story that was a lie, 

how Peleus had sought to be with 

her, a wife, in the bridal bed of Akastos. 

It was the other way. 

Over and again with all her heart 

she had entreated him with her persuasions. 

Indeed, the abrupt words had troubled his passion; 

but he denied the girl forthwith, 

fearing the anger of our Father 

the Hospitable. And Zeus, who ranges the clouds, king of 

the immortals, was pleased 

and from the sky bent his head to will that without delay 
some Nereid of the sea, one of those who work with a golden 

spindle, should be his wife, 

prevailing upon her kinsman, Poseidon, who many times 

fares over the sea from Aigai 
to the great Dorian Isthmos, where the glad companies meet 

the god with a clamor of reed flutes 
and dare the strength of their limbs in contest. 

109 



Destiny in the blood decides all 
action. Euthymenes, twice at Aigina you 
were folded into the arms of victory 
and given formal glorification in song. 

Now again, Pytheas, your uncle's pride is in your feet that 

go in the track of his blood. 

Nemea was his and the month in the land Delphinios, Apol- 
lo's beloved. 

You at home defeated all comers of your age 
and at the fair curve of the hill of Nisos. All your city 
is a contender in lordly deeds, and I am glad. 
Know that in success you have repaid 
delight to Menandros, your trainer, for hard work 

given. (A smith to mold 

athletes must come from the city of Athens.) 

If, my song, you adventure 

into the presence of Themistios, fear not. 

Speak out, run the sails aloft 

to the crossbar at the masthead. 

Speak of him as pankratiast and boxer, who achieved at 
Epidauros 

twofold success, and now before the doors of Aiakos 

wears the wreath luxuriant with flowers, the gift of the fair- 
haired Graces. 



110 



NEMEA 6 
There is one 

race of men, one race of gods; both have breath 
of life from a single mother. But sundered power 
holds us divided, so that the one is nothing, while for the 

other the brazen sky is established 

their sure citadel forever. Yet we have some likeness in great 
intelligence, or strength, to the immortals, 
though we know not what the day will bring, what course 
after nightfall 
destiny has written that we must run to the end. 

For witness 

even now, behold how his lineage works in Alkimidas. 

It is like cornfields that exchange their estate, 

now in their year to yield life to men from their level spaces 

while again they lie fallow to gather strength. He came 

home from the lovely games at Nemea, 

a boy contestant; and steering this destiny from God 

he shows now 

as one not ill-starred in his quest of prizes for wrestling, 

laying his feet in the steps that are his by blood 

of his grandfather, Praxidamas. 

He was Olympioniciaa and first 

brought home to the Aiakidai from Alpheus the olive 

branches, 

and went five times garlanded at the Isthmos, 
thrice at Nemea, to abate forgetfulness 
fallen upon Sokleidas, mightiest 
of the sons of Hagesimachos. 

Ill 



For these three 

have come home, bearing prizes; their achievement reached 

the uttermost; 

and it was these who knew the struggle also. By God's grace, 
boxing has brought forth no one house to possess 
more garlands in any corner of all Hellas. I hope, 
high though my speech be, it strikes the mark squarely, 
as from a bow drawn true. My Muse, steer me the flight 
of these my words 
straight and glorious. For men pass, 

but the songs 

and the stories bring back the splendor of their deeds. 

And the Bassidai have no dearth, their race is bespoken of 

old, 
as on long voyages they have come with a freight of praise, 

for the gardeners of the Muses 

giving occasion to hymns for the sake of high deeds. 
Kallias also, of the blood of this same stock, 
at sacred Pytho, his hands bound in the thongs, 
won victory 
and pleased the children of Lato of the gold hair, 

and beside Kastalia at nightfall 

was brightened in acclamation of the Graces. 

The tireless bridge of the sea, at the two-year games 

of the dwellers-about, where an ox is slaughtered, 

glorified him in Poseidon's precinct. 

And on a time the Lion's parsley 

shaded his victor's brows in the dark glen 

of Phleious under the primeval mountains. 

Wide are the ways 
from all sides, for the tellers of tales 
to glorify this splendid island; for the Aiakidai 
have made mighty its destiny, showing forth great things 
done in valor, 

112 



and over the earth and across the seas afar wings 

the name of them; as far as the Aithiopians 

it went suddenly when Memnon came not home. Heavy 

was the assault of Achilles 

when he came down from his chariot 

and with the 

edge of the angry sword struck down the child 

of the shining Dawn. All this is a way the men 

before me discovered long ago, but I follow it also, carefully. 

When the ship is laboring, always the wave that rolls nearest 

her forefoot, 

they say, brings terror beyond aught else to all men's 
hearts. But I gladly have taken on my back a twofold burden 
and come a messenger, 
heralding this twenty-fifth 

triumph won from games that are called sacred. 

Alkimidas, you have been true 

to the splendor of your race. Twice, my child, at the precinct 

of Kronian Zeus, only a random draw 

despoiled you and Polytimidas of Olympian garlands. 

Melesias I would liken 

to a dolphin in his speed through the sea's water, 

a man to guide the strength in a boy's hands. 



113 



NEMEA 7 

Eleithyia, seated beside the grave, wise Muses, 

child of almighty Hera, bringer of children to birth, listen: 

without you 

we look not on daylight nor on black evening, receive not 
for our own your sister of the young glorious limbs, Hebe. 
The breath of life that all draw is not the same; 
one thing or another tied to a destiny checks it. By your 

means 

the son also of Thearion, Sogenes, predominant 
for prowess, is made glorious in song for the five-contests. 

He lives in the city that loves singing, city of the Aiakidai 
of the crashing spears; with favor they guide a spirit like 

theirs, hardy in the struggle. 
If a man be fortunate and win, he casts the delight 
of his cause in the Muses' stream; even high strength, 
lacking song, goes down into the great darkness. 
There are means to but one glass that mirrors deeds of 

splendor; 

by the shining waters of Memory 
is found recompense for strain in poetry that rings far. 

Wise men have learned of the third day's wind to come; 
their greed does not bemuse them. 
Rich man and poor move side by side toward the limit 
of death. I think the tale 

of Odysseus is greater than his deeds, all through the grace of 
Homer. 

Upon his lies and the winged intelligence 
there is a kind of majesty; genius persuasive in speech de- 
ceives us; blind 

114 



is the heart in the multitude of men. Else, 
could they have seen the truth, never would great Aias, 
angered over the weapons, have driven the burnished 
sword through his own heart after Achilles the strongest 

fighter 

the west wind, straightening, carried in the swift ships 
to bring back fair-haired Menelaos' lady 

from Ilion. The wave of death comes over us all. 

It breaks unexpected; it comes if you look for it also. Fame 

is theirs 

for whom God makes delicate the legend after their death. 
Beside the great, deep-folded navel 
of the earth, there came as a helper he who lies 
in the Pythian precinct, Neoptolemos, sacker of Priam's city, 
where the Danaans labored long. On the home voyage 
he lost Skyros, was driven and came to Ephyra. 

A short while he was king 
in Molossia; his seed carries that right 
forever. He came to Apollo, 
bringing gifts out of the spoil from Troy. 
There, in a quarrel over the meats, a man with a knife 
stabbed him. 

The hospitable Delphians were exceedingly heavy at heart. 
But he gave destiny its own. It was fated that in the primeval 

grove 

some one of the great Aiakidai must lie for the rest of time 
beside the God's walled house, and with heroic processionals 
dwell there, mantic, amid much sacrifice. 
To make justice fair, three words will serve. 
A witness who shall not lie stands over the things done, 
Aigina, by your children and Zeus'. I am bold to speak 

from within, by the high road of speech, over shining 
excellence. But in all things rest is sweet; there is surfeit 

115 



even in honey, even in Aphrodite's lovely flowers. 

By birth each of us is given his own life to carry. 

They differ one way and another. No one man 

can lift and hold blessedness entire; I cannot 

speak of any to whom Destiny gave good, lasting 

unshaken. Thearion, to you she proffers deserved occasion 

for success; you dare splendid things, 
and she does not make void the thoughtfulness in your heart. 
I am a friend; I put aside the darkness of blame 
and bring to a man beloved, like streams of water, 
glory in sincere praise; such recompense befalls the good 
men. 

An Achaian standing beside me will find no fault, 

one who dwells beyond the Ionian sea. I trust in my proxeny. 

Among fellow-citizens 
I look with clear eyes, without excess. 
I keep my feet from all things violent; may time to come 
be gracious accordingly. Let a man think, then say 
if I go out of key, if my words are crooked. 
Sogenes, descended of Euxenos, I swear 
I have not overstepped the line, to cast my speech 

in speed, like that bronze-shod javelin that released from the 

sweat 
of wrestling the strength of your shoulders, without the sun's 

blaze on your body. 

For what hard work there was, the joy that follows is greater. 
Let be. If for the victor's sake I have raised 
my voice too high, I am not too stubborn to set it aright. 
Lightly will I make garlands. Strike up now. For you the 

Muse 

binds gold upon white ivory with 
the lily growth, raised dripping from the sea. 



116 



Mindful of Zeus, over Nemea 
let the mixed clamor of the choral sound forth 
in peace. It beseems us, in this dancing place, 
to make our song's theme the king of the gods 
in mild voice. They say he engendered Aiakos in the womb 
of his mother 

to be lord of his own famous country 

and, Herakles, your trusted guest-friend and brother. Of the 

good things given 

between man and man, I say that a neighbor, 
true and loving in heart, to neighbor is a joy beyond 
all things else. If God sustain this, 
grant, you who beat down the Giants, that Sogenes wish to 

dwell 

in your favor beside his father, with gentle spirit toward him, 
in the holy street fair-founded of his ancestors; 

for, as in the cross-yoke of a four-horse chariot, 

his house is between your precincts on either hand as you go. 

O Blessed, 

yours it is to persuade Hera's lord 
and the gray-eyed maiden. You can give men strength 
over and again against bewilderment and distress. 
As you made his life strong in body, 

may you keep him thus in his shining youth and old age also 
and make him fortunate; and his children's children 

shall be given such favor and even more hereafter. 
For me: my heart will not confess 
I assaulted Neoptolemos in disorderly 
words. To say this thrice and four times over 
turns into futility, like the meaningless cry of children, 
Zeus Korinthos. 



117 



NEMEA 8 

Divine Youth, messenger of Aphrodite 

and her shining and immortal tendernesses, 

you who lie on the eyelids of young girls, and of boys, 

some you lift up with soft hands of necessity, others in 

harder fashion. 

It is a glad thing not to fail opportunity, and come in time 
to each thing done, possessing those loves that are stronger. 

Such were they who dispensed 

the gifts of Kypris and tended the bed of Zeus 

and Aigina. And from Oinona grew a son and a king, 

splendid in council and the hand's work. And many over 

and again entreated his presence, 
for without advertisement the best of the heroes that dwelt 

about him 
asked, with no constraint, to obey his lordship, 

they who at Athens of the rocks were the marshals of armies, 

and the children of Pelops at Sparta. 

For the sake of a beloved city and these its citizens 

I embrace, in supplication, the hallowed knees of Aiakos, 

bearing 

this Lydian veil embroidered with clashing song, 
a thing to glorify Deinias for his two-length race at Nemea, 

and for Megas his father. 
Success abides longer among men 
when it is planted by the hand of God; 

God who loaded Kinyras with weight of wealth 

in sea-borne Kypros long ago. 

I stand on light feet and draw my breath before I speak. 

118 



Many things have been spoken in many a way, but when one 

discovers a new thing and tests it 
at the touchstone, there all is danger; talking delights the 

envious, 
ever busy against the noble, meddling not with smaller men. 

It was this that slaughtered the son of Telamon 

and bent him over his own sword. 

A quiet man, no talker, steadfast of heart, lies forgotten 

in the rage of dispute. The great prize is given to the supple 

liar. 

In their secret ballots the Danaans made much of Odysseus, 
and Aias lost the golden armor and died struggling in his 

own blood. 

In truth, otherwise were the gashes that in the onset 

they tore in the warm flesh of their adversaries 

under the spears of defense about Achilles' body, 

in many another combat of those wasting 

days. But hate, even then, was there with its pretexts. 

It walks companion of beguiling words; it is sly and a spite 

that makes evil; 

it violates the beautiful and brilliant 
to lift up out of things obscure a glory rotten at the heart. 

Zeus father, may such never be my way; 

let me, walking always in the path 

of simplicity, make my life, and die thus, leaving 

to my children fame without reproach. Some pray for gold, 

some for lands 
without limit, but I to lay my limbs in the ground as one who 

gladdened his fellow-citizens, 
praising that which deserves it, scattering blame on the 

workers of evil. 

But excellence waxes as the vine 
growth in the young green tendrils, 

119 



raised up among the men who are righteous and wise into the 
limpid sky. Various are the uses of friends, beyond all else 
in difficulty, but joy also looks for trust that is clear 
in the eyes. O Megas, bring back your soul to life, 

I cannot; the end of empty hopes is despair; 

but blithe am I to raise up to your city 

and the Chariadai a marble column of the Muses because of 

the speed in your feet, 
yours and your son's. I am glad to utter 
a vaunt to match the very achievement; while by song a man 
can take the pain even from labor. There were hymns of 

congratulation 
long ago, before 
the strife of Adrastos and the Kadmeians. 



120 



NEMEA 9 

From Apollo and Sikyon, Muses, bring we the festival song 
to new-founded Aitna, where the doors unfolded are 

thronged beyond their measure with guests, 
and the rich house of Chromios; now make lovely the strain 

of song. 
For, riding the chariot in its power of horses, he calls aloud 

to the mother and her twin children, 
coholders and guardian divinities of the steep of Pytho. 

There is a saying among men: Hide not in grounded silence 
a noble thing fulfilled. Song in magic of words brings glorifi- 
cation. 

Strike up, then, the thrum of the lyre, lift up the flute's cry 
to crown the contest of horses Adrastos established for 
Phoibos beside Asopos' streams; and, remembering, 
I will work out for that hero praise that shall ring far. 

Then he was king in that place and with new festivals 
and with contests of men's strength and with graven chariots 

showed forth his city's glory. 
There was a time he fled the angry spirit of Amphiaraos and 

dread faction, 
from the house of his fathers and Argos. Talaos' children, 

overborne in conflict, no longer were lords. 
A stronger man beats down the right of old. 

Eriphyle the baneful, as if to seal the oath, 

they gave Oikleos' son to wife. Thereafter they were the high 

lords of the fair-haired Danaans; 
and on a day they led to seven-gated Thebes an army of men 

121 



not in the way of good augury; nor did Kronian Zeus, shak- 
ing his thunderbolt against their insolence, 
bid them go from home, but rather spare the venture. 

But this throng hastened into destruction that showed plain 
with brazen armor and horses and gear; and by Ismene's 

banks, bereft 
of sweet homecoming, they made rich with their bodies the 

pale-blossoming smoke. 
Seven corpse-fires fed on the young limbs of men; but Zeus 

in all his strength, with lightning 
split the deep-bosomed earth for Amphiaraos and covered 

him and his horses, 

or ever, stabbed in the back with Periklymenos' spear, that 

warrior 
shamed his own valor. In more than mortal panics even the 

gods' sons flee. 

Kronion, if I may, I would put off to the utmost the 
glorious trial 

of spears for life and death with the Punic men; I ask you to 

grant 
to the sons of the Aitnaians that their destiny of fair laws 

may abide long, 

Zeus father, and that you bring this people to glory in their 

city's domain. 
Behold, these men love horses, and they have souls greater 

than their possessions. 

1 speak, and none will believe; for honor, who brings glory, 
is covered in secrecy 

by love for gain. Carrying the shield for Chromios among 

the foot and the horsemen and in the sea-fighting, 
you had honored him amid the danger of the loud onset. 

There in battle that goddess made strong his fighting heart 
to beat off the blight of Ares. Few can take counsel 

122 



and turn aside the cloud of instant slaughter against the 

enemy ranks 
with heart and hand; yet it is said that glory blossomed for 

Hektor beside Skamander waters, 
and by the deep-slung headlands of Eloros, where men 

speak of Rhea's crossing, this same light 

looked down on the son of Agesidamos in his first youth; 

and on other days 
I might speak of much more done on the dusty land and the 

sea hard by. 
But out of labors, for them who have with their youth 

righteousness, the day of their life grows green toward old 

age. 
Let him know that at God's hand he is given prosperity to 

be admired. 

For if with much possession a man win conspicuous honor, 
there lies beyond no mark for a mortal to overtake with his 

feet. 
But peace loves the gay banquet, and victory in its young 

growth prospers 
with gentle song; and the voice becomes confident by the 

mixing-bowl. 
Let them pour the wine, sweet prophet of revelry, 

and serve the vine's strong child in the silver cups 

his horses won for Chromios once and brought home with 

fairly plaited 

wreaths of Apollo from holy Sikyon. Zeus father, 
I pray that with the Graces' aid I may sing his excellence and 

on many occasions 
honor success, throwing my spear right close to the Muses' 

mark. 



123 



NEMEA 10 

Sing, O Graces, the city of Danaos and his fifty daughters of 

the shining 
thrones, Argos, the house of Hera, fit dwelling place for 

gods. The flame of excellence 

for brave things done in their thousands shines about it. 
Long is the tale of Perseus and the Gorgon Medusa; 
many are the cities of Egypt founded at Epaphos' hands; 
there is Hypermestra the steadfast, who alone kept the 

sword's doom fast in its sheath. 

And of old the gray-eyed maiden of the fair hair made 

Diomedes a god immortal; 
at Thebes the earth, thunder-smitten by the bolts of Zeus, 

received 

the seer, Oikleos' son, storm-cloud of battle. 
The city from of old surpasses in lovely-haired women; 
a tale proved, for Zeus came to Alkmana and Danae; 
and for Adrastos' father and for Lynkeus he married the 

yield of their minds to straight justice. 

He fostered the spear's might of Amphitryon, who, high in 

blessedness, 

came even into his kinship, when in brazen armor 
he slew the Teleboans, and in his likeness 
the king of the immortals entered his courtyard, 
carrying the fearless seed of Hcrakles, to whom on Olympos 
Hebe is wife, loveliest of the goddesses, who walks beside 

her mother, lady of marriage. 

My lips are brief to rehearse all that destiny of glories the 

holy ground 
of Argos keeps. There remains surfeit of men, a harsh thing 

to encounter. 

124 



Nevertheless, wake the well-strung lyre 

and take thought of wrestling now; for the brazen games 

stir the people toward the ox-sacrifice of Hera, and the judg- 
ment of contests, 

where Oulias' son, Theaios, twice has conquered to win for- 
getf ulness of his labors lightly borne. 

He has defeated the assembled Hellenes at Pytho and, com- 
ing with good fortune, 

won the wreath at Nemea and the Isthmos, that the Muses 
be not idle; 

and thrice at the Sea Gates success was his, 

and thrice in the holy fields of Adrastos' domain. 

Zeus father, his mouth is silent of his heart's desire; yet every 
end 

of achievement lies in you. With heart not strange to en- 
deavor, he brings hardihood to beg grace. 

I sing that which is known to God and all who strive 
on the heights for the uttermost prizes. Pisa keeps 
Herakles' ordinances supreme; yet twice before 
in their ceremonies the Athenian voices have risen in sweet- 
ness 
to acclaim him; and in earth burnt by fire and the keeping 

of figured vessels 
the olive's yield has come to Hera's land of brave men. 

Theaios, honor of games' success, with the Graces and the 

Tyndaridai, 

attends always the seed renowned of your mother's people. 
Were I kinsman of Thrasyklos and of Antias, 
I would not deign in Argos to veil the light 
of my eyes, for all the victories won, wherein Proitos' city of 

horses 
has blossomed. In the recesses of Korinth and at the hands of 

the men of Kleonai they won four times. 

125 



From Sikyon they departed with silver of the wine goblets, 
and from Pellana, mantling their shoulders in robes soft 

woven. 

But the thousand fold bronze: I may not 
count it; too long would be leisure for its numbering: 
all that Kleitor gave, and Tegea, the towering cities of the 

Achaians; 
all that the Lykaian sanctuary by the field of Zeus set to be 

won by strength of foot or of hand. 

Since Kastor came to Pamphaes' entertainment 

and Polydetikes his brother, it is no marvel 

that to be good athletes runs in their blood. The lords 

of Sparta and the wide dancing lawns dispose 

the ordinances of games in their beauty, with Herakles and 

with Hermes beside them. 
They care for men that are righteous. Indeed, the race of the 

gods fails not their friends. 

They with life changing to and fro dwell one day beside 

their father beloved, 
Zeus, and the day that follows under the secret places of the 

earth in the hollows of Therapne. 
The destiny they fulfil is the same; such 
was the choice of Polydeukes rather than be god indeed 
and dwell in the sky, when Kastor fell in the fighting, 
whom Idas, angered over some driving of cattle, stabbed 

with the bronze spearhead. 

Lynkeus, staring from Taygetos, saw them hiding 

in an oak tree, for beyond all mortals else his eye 

was sharpest. And in ravening speed of their feet 

they came down and devised at once a monstrous act, 

and terribly did these sons of Aphareus suffer at the hands 

of Zeus; for straightway 
Leda's son, Polydeukes, came pursuing, and they stood at 

bay by their father's tomb. 

126 



Ripping aloft the dedication of death, the smoothed grave- 
stone, 

they cast it at Polydeukes' chest, but availed not to shatter 

nor drive him back. He, leaping with quick spear, 

buried the bronze in Lynkeus' side, 

and Zeus on Idas crashed the flame of the smoking thunder- 
bolt. 

These two burned, forlorn. Men find strife bitter when they 
undertake those who are stronger. 

With speed Tyndareus' son ran back to his mighty brother, 
and found him not dead, drawing yet some shuddering 

breath of life. 

In grief, letting fall hot tears, 
he cried aloud: "Kronion, my father, what release 
shall there be from sorrow? Grant death also to me with this 

man, my lord. 
Bereft of his friends a man's honor is gone. Few mortals are 

steadfast in distress 

"to endure hardship." He spoke, and Zeus came near 

and answered: "You are my son; but thereafter her lord, a 

hero, 

embracing your mother, shed seed that is mortal: 
this man. Behold: of these two things I give you choice 
entire; if you would escape death and age that all men hate, 
to dwell beside me on Olympos with Athene and Ares of the 

black spear, 

"that right is yours. But if all your endeavor is for 
your twin, and you would have in all things shares aljjj 
half the time you may breathe under the earth, .^ 
half the time in the golden houses of the sky.'j^*^ 
He spoke, and no twofold counsel divided i 
but he set free from darkness the eyes 
brazen belt, and his voice thereafter. 

127 



NEMEA 11 

Daughter of Rhea, mistress appointed of prytanies, Hestia: 
sister of Zeus on high and of Hera, his queen and consort, 
with favor welcome into your house Aristagoras, 
with favor also near your bright scepter his companions, 
who honor you as they keep Tenedos upright, 

propitiating you first of goddesses with much libation 
and smoke of victims; the lyre murmurs deep among them, 

and singing; 

the right of Zeus the Hospitable is wrought at their quenchless 
feasting tables. But in honor let him pass 
the twelve-month period with heart not torn. 

I bless this man for Agesilas, his father, 

for the splendor and linked serenity of his limbs. 

Yet if one, keeping wealth, surpass in beauty likewise 

and show his strength by excellence in the games, 

let him yet remember the limbs he appoints are mortal 

and that he must put upon him earth, the end of all things. 

In the speech of good citizens he should win praise 
and be a theme of elaboration in the deep, sweet singing. 
From contests among the neighbors, sixteen times 
shining successes have garlanded Aristagoras 
and his city in fair repute for wrestling and the vaunting 
pankration. 

The hopes too hesitant of his parents kept their son's strength 
from endeavor in the games at Pytho and Olympia. 
By oath, I say, to my thinking had he ventured 
beside Kastalia and the grove of the slope of Kronos, 
he had come back in glory beyond his straining antagonists; 

128 



he had kept the revel of the five-year cycle ordained 
by Herakles, and bound his hair in the shining 
branches. But one man, light-minded, vaunting hopes 
drive from the good; another one, who blames overmuch 
his own strength, the undaring spirit drags at his hand 
to falter him back from splendors that are his by right. 

It were easy to guess the blood from Sparta and from 
Peisandros of old, who came from Amyklai with Orestes, 
leading hither a host of Aiolians in their brazen gear, 
and from the waters of Ismenos a mixed strain 
by Melanippos on his mother's side. But the valors rooted of 
old, 

interchanging, reveal the strength in the generations of men. 

Neither in the soil do the black plow-acres 

nor orchards in every circling year consent to yield 

blossoming and fragrance equal in richness, 

but in seasons alternate. The same destiny controls 

mortality. From Zeus comes no clear sign 
to men. Even so we go abroad in our manhood's height, 
pondering many designs; for our limbs are shackled to shame- 
less 

hope, and the streams of forethought lie afar. 
We should seek out some measure in things gained; 
too bitter are the pangs of madness after loves that arc past 
attainment. 



129 



ISTHMIA 1 

Thebes of the golden shield, my mother, I will put 
your errand beyond other necessity that is upon me. 
Let not Delos of the rocks that is my delight 
begrudge me; for what delights the good 
more than parents in their graciousness? Give way, 
island of Apollo; by God's grace I shall achieve a twofold 
task, the delight of both, 

making a song of dancing to Phoibos of the uncut hair 
in wave-washed Keos among the men of the sea, 
likewise for the Isthmos, that shoulder that dykes the surf. 
It has granted garlands from games won 
six times to the host of the sons of Kadmos, splendor 
of fair success for their own land, on whose soil Alkmana 
bore a child 

fearless, for the savage hounds of Geryon shivered before him. 
But I will give Herodotos his meed for the four-horse chariot 

race; 

and for reins guided by no hands other than his own 
I will implicate him in song for Kastor or lolaos. 
These two in Lakedaimon and Thebes were the mightiest 

charioteers among heroes. 

In all trials of strength they won most prizes, 
and their houses were made magnificent with tripods, 
cauldrons, dishes of gold. The feel 
of garlands given in token of victory 
was theirs. That excellence is a clear shining 
they had alike in the naked race and the course of warriors 
among clattering shields, 

130 



for the way of the javelin's flight thrown from their hands 
and the cast of the stone discus. 
There was no pentathlon then, but for each event 
the end lay in itself. 

And often and again, binding their brows with the clustered 
branched garlands, by Dirke's waters they appeared; and 
beside Eurotas, 

the son of Iphikles, dweller among the breed of the Sown 

Men; 
and among Achaians Kastor the Tyndarid of the high house 

at Therapne. 

Farewell both : I must bring the sweep of my song about 
to Poseidon and the holy Isthmos and the strands of On- 

chestos, 
to speak aloud in this man's honor the glorious destiny of 

Asopodoros, his father, 

and Orchomenos with its ancestral acres 
that in sympathy accepted him, he 
being stricken and in the unhappiness of shipwreck, 
out of the sea immeasurable; now 
the fortune in this house has come back, to stand 
once more high in its happiness of old; the man who has 
had labor of mind wins forethought also. 

But if every temper of him is disposed toward virtue 
both ways, by outlay and endurance of toil, 
toward such finding the goal we should bring lordly 
praise, freely and with heart not begrudging; 
for it is a light gift for a man well skilled 
to find the right word for various labors achieved and build 
up splendor in all men's sight. 

And, in truth, each man delights in the price befitting work 
done 

131 



shepherd, plowman, fowler, or one who lives by the sea. 
The strain of warding off incessant hunger is on all men, 
but he who in contests or in war achieves the delicate glory 
is magnified to be given the supreme prize, splendor of 
speech from citizen and stranger. 

It befits us now to hymn the son of Kronos 
the earth-shaker, our neighbor and benefactor, 
in requital, the lord of the running of horses, 
and to speak, Amphitryon, 
of your sons, and the hollow of Minyas, 
and the glorious grove of Demeter, Eleusis, and Euboia, 
where the ways curve; 

your precinct in Phylake, Protesilaos, I bring likewise, 
yours, and of the Achaian men. 
But to speak of all that Hermes, god of games, 
has bestowed on Herodotos 
for horses racing, the song's measure is straitened 
to prevent me. Indeed, many a time the thing left silent 
makes for happiness. 

May he be lifted on the shining wings of the Muses, 
the melodious, and fill his hands with choice leafage won 
from Pytho also and Olympian games by Alpheus, and 

bring honor 
upon seven-gated Thebes. But if a man keep wealth a secret 

thing in his house 
and laugh at each encounter, he knows not that he appoints 

to Hades a life without glory. 



132 



ISTHMIA 2 

Thrasyboulos, the men of old who mounted the chariot 
of the golden-veiled Muses with the ringing lyre in their 

hands 

lightly loosed the shafts of their delicate love-songs 
for those who were beautiful in the delight and pride 
upon them to waken enthroned Aphrodite. 

The Muse in those days was not mercenary nor worked for 
hire, 

nor was the sweetness of Terpsichore's honeyed singing for 
sale 

nor her songs with faces silvered over for their soft utter- 
ance. 

Nowdays she drives us to hold with that Argive's 

word, that mounts close to the truth itself. 

Money is man, he said, forlorn alike of possessions and 

friends. 

But you are wise; you know whereof I sing 
an Isthmian victory with horses 
Poseidon granted to Xenokrates, 
sending a wreath of Dorian parsley 
to bind on his hair in token of triumph; 

grace to a great man of chariots and light of Akragas. 
And, at Krisa, mighty Apollo looked down upon him and 

gave him splendor, 

and he met the famed favor of the sons of Erechtheus 
at shining Athens, with no cause to blame 
the hand of the charioteer that steered well the car, 

133 



Nikomachos, handling in skill all reins. 

Zeus Kronios' heralds of the season of sacred truce 

acclaimed him, men of Elis, who had known his hospitality 

of old; 

and with glad outcry they hailed him, 
gathered to the knees of golden Victory 

in their land men call the grove of Olympian Zeus. 

There the children of Ainesidamos 

were made intimate with immortal honors. 

For your house, Thrasyboulos, is no stranger 

to the loveliness of such festivals, 

nor to the sweet affirmation in songs of praise. 

Nowise rocky nor steep is the path we take 

to bring home to men of reputation the glories of the Muses 

of Helikon. 
I have spun the discus far and thus far also would cast the 

spear, to tell 

how beyond all men gentle was the temper Xenokrates 
used in his time; a modest man among citizens 

whose horsemanship was in the style to be known among all 

Hellenes; 
and all the festivals of the gods he embraced, nor did any 

gale's blast 

strike his sail at the hospitality of his board. 
For summer's venture he passed the Phasis, 
and the Nile headlands for the winter sailing. 

Now, though envious hopes flutter over the minds of mortals, 

let Thrasyboulos not be silenced over his father's excellence; 

nor silence yet these songs. I did not make them 

that they might rest in sleep. 

All these things, Nikasippos, dispense 

when you come to Thrasyboulos, the friend of my heart. 

134 



ISTHMIA 3 

If any man be fortunate in the glory of games 

or strength of riches, and yet check down bitter excess in his 

heart, 

it is his to be wrapped in the praise of his city's men. 
Great prowess descends upon mortals, 
Zeus, from you; the prosperity of the worshipful lives long; 

but those whose hearts are aslant, 
with them it stays not long to wax and blossom. 

In requital for great things done we must praise the noble in 

song, 

and in our acclamation lift them high with the gentle Graces. 
It is Melissos' destiny for twofold success 
to turn his heart toward the sweetness of satisfaction. 
In the glades of Isthmos he was given garlands, and in the 

fold of the valley 
of the deep-breasted lion he made Thebes to be acclaimed 

by conquering in the chariot race. He refutes not 

the virtue in men's blood engendered. 

Know that, of old, Kleonymos 

was famed for chariots; 

and they of his mother's side, akin to the children of Labda- 

kos, 

advanced laboring their wealth on the four-horsed car. 
But time, in the turning-over of days, works change for better 

or worse; the un wounded are God's children. 



135 



ISTHMIA 4 

Multitudinous are the ways the gods have given, 

O Melissos, to follow in song the achievements of you and 

yours, 

such crafty strength did you show at the Isthmos, 
in which, flowering forever, the race of Kleonymos, 
with God favoring, have gone to the mortal end of life; 

except that the changing winds 
burst forth variously to drive all men at will. 

From the beginning they have been men of honor in Thebes, 
friends of strangers in neighbor cities, free of vaunting 
pride; in all testimonies borne on the winds among men 
for unfailing reputation of those that are gone 
and the living also, they have come to the uttermost goal; in 

the height of virtue 
by pride of blood they touch the pillars of Herakles. 

Further than this no man can drive his strength. 

These were skilled in horsemanship; 

they were pleasing in the sight of Ares the brazen. 

But in the space of one day the bitter 

snowstorm of battle made desolate 

that blessed hearth of four men. 

Now once more it is as when, after the winter darkness, the 

months change 
and earth flowers again in the crimson of roses 

by the gods' behest. And the shaker of the earth, who dwells 

in Onchestos 

and the sea bridge beside the ramparts of Korinth, 
granting this song of acclamation to their race, 

136 



rouses as from its bed their ancient glory 
for splendid things achieved. It had fallen asleep; but, waken- 
ing now, it waxes to brilliance, 
shining forth as the dawn star among others. 

Beside the hills of Athens it had heralded the chariot victory, 
and in the games of Adrastos at Sikyon it granted 
such drifting leaves of song among men of that generation; 
nor did they keep their curved chariot from the communal 

games 
of all the Hellenes, but strove joyously with lavish expense 

on horses. 
Silence of obscurity descends on those who will not endeavor, 

but even among strivers there may be darkness of luck 
before they come to the utmost goal. 
The gifts of chance are various and they change. 
Also the skill of small men 

has thrown the stronger by stealth of sudden attack. Witness 
the might of Aias that he himself slaughtered 
by dead of night with the thrust of his own sword, 
and has got reproach among the sons of the Hellenes who 
went to Troy. 

Yet Homer has glorified him beyond other men, 

and straightened the story of his valor in the rhapsode's 

magic words to charm all men thereafter. 

A thing said walks in immortality 

if it has been said well; and over the fruitful earth and across 

the sea 
fares the light that dies never of splendid deeds. 

May the Muses give me gracious aid to light such a beacon 

of song 

for Melissos also, a garland for the scion of Telesiadas 
worthy his pankratiast's strength. For daring of heart, 

137 



in action, he is like thunderous lions among beasts, 

but, for cunning, the fox that falls on his back to foil the 

eagle's plunge. 
All means are fair to baffle the adversary. 

He was not given Orion's stature; 

rather he is a mean man by his look, 

but hard to grapple in strength. 

Once before, in the Libyan cornlands, 

there came from Kadmeian Thebes to the house of Antaios 

a man small in stature, inflexible of will, 

to wrestle him and put an end to that building 

with skulls of strangers the temple to Poseidon. 

It was Alkmana's son, who scaled Olympos, who knew 

all earth, and sounded the deeply veiled abyss of the gray sea 

to make easy the passage for sailors. 

Now he dwells in bliss and magnificence beside 

the lord of the aegis, honored and bfeloved among immortals, 

with Hebe to wife, 
master in a house of gold and son-in-law to Hera. 

To him beside the Elektran gate his citizens have dedicated 

a feast 

and the freshly built circle of altars; there we feed 
the fires for his eight bronze-armored sons who died, 
sons that Megara bore him, Kreon's daughter. 
In their honor the flames rise up at sunset to shine nightlong 
and beat the air with billows of fragrant smoke. 

And the second day is given to the issue of annual games 
and the work that is for men's strength. 
There the head of Melissos has been made bright 
with myrtle garlands twice for victory, 
once before for success among boys his age. 
He heeded the deep counsel of his trainer, 
who guided him; to both, Melissos and Or seas now, 
I will make my song of triumph and drench them in grace 
and delight. 

138 



ISTHMIA 5 

Mother of Helios, Theia the many-named: 

for your sake men have made the great strength of gold 

to be a thing prized above other possessions. 

And ships that strive on the sea 

and horses under the chariot, by your grace, lady, 

are made wonderful in the rapid whirl of contests. 

She among the assembled games has made 
glory to be a lovely thing, when the clustering garlands 
are bound over a man's head, for success in strength 
of hand, or speed of his feet. 
The crucial strength is given of the gods to men; 
but two things only there are that minister to the brightest 
bloom of life as wealth blossoms: 

success and the good speech that a man hears of himself. 
Strive not to become Zeus; you have everything 
if destiny of such splendors befall you. 
Mortals must be content with mortality. 
For you, Phylakidas, a twofold blossoming of power 
at the Isthmos is laid away in time, and at Nemea for you 
and Pytheas, your brother, pankratiasts. My heart 
has no traffic here in songs not of the Aiakidai; 
but with the Graces to guide me I have come to the sons of 
Lampon, 

to this just island. If she is turned to a pure way 

in actions whose springs are of God, 

spare not to mingle the glorification becoming 

to song for struggles achieved. 

For even among the heroes those fighters who were brave 

139 



have gained by praise; they are made famous by lyres, in the 
many-voiced symphony of flutes 

into time without end; in their worshipfulness they have 

given 

to singers, by God's grace, the themes of their art. 
At the shining sacrifices of the Aitolians 
the great children of Oineus, 
at Thebes lolaos the charioteer, 
have honor; Perseus at Argos; Kastor's spear and Polydeukes 

beside the waters of Eurotas. 

Here at Aigina it is the great hearts 

of Aiakos and his sons. Embattled 

twice, they sacked the city of the Trojans, following 

Heraklcs that first time, 

thereafter with the Atreidai. Take flight now from earth. 

Say, who slew Kyknos, Hektor, 

the fearless marshal of Aithiopian men, 

Memnon armored in bronze? Who wounded 

brave Telephos with the spear, at the Kai'kos banks? 

Therefore, my lips give them to their land, Aigina, 
the glorious island, a tower builded from time 
primeval, for the highest valors to storm. 
There are many arrows of song 
my speech has skill to sound forth in their honor. 
Today the city of Aias, defended in battle by sailors, will 
speak for them, 

Salamis, in God's rain and the bloody death-sleet, 
where numberless men went down. 
Nevertheless, drench arrogance in silence. 
Not all the things Zeus gives are of one kind, 
and Zeus is master of all. But as the loveliness 
of honey are the honors that greet such glad victories. Let a 
man 

140 



strive in games, learning of the seed 

of Kleonikos. The long labors of these men 

are not blinded in time, nor did reckoning 

of expense make cautious their hopes. 

I praise Pytheas also among fighters for showing 

his brother the battering strokes' pattern 

a man skilful with his hands, and of mind also. 

Take for him the garland and the fleecy headband, 

and with him bring home the young song with its wings. 



Ml 



ISTHMIA 6 

As in the splendor of a revel of men, 

we mix a second bowl of the strains of the Muses 

for the sake of Lampon's race and all its triumphs. Zeus, in 

your own Nemea first 

we held up before you the shining of their garlands; 
and now again before the lord of the Isthmos 
and the fifty Nereids, for the youngest boy, 
Phylakidas, has won. May the third time be 
such that we make at Aigina our last libation 
to Zeus Savior, Olympian, in the honeyed singing. 

If any man, gladly lavishing gold 

and toil, win to achievement of excellence given of God, 

his destiny increases the loveliness of fame. At the uttermost 

fortunate strands 

he drops anchor, moving in the eyes of God. 
In mood like this, Lampon, son 
of Kleonikos, makes his prayer to face and take death 
and gray age; and I beseech Klotho that is throned on high 
and her sister Fates to attend the supplication heard from 

afar 
of this man, my beloved friend. 

Sons of Aiakos, riders in chariots of gold, 

I see as I set foot on this island the task 

most clear before me, to shower you in praise. 

Thousand fold are cut in the land the hundred-foot-wide 

roads of your great achievements, 
even beyond the waters that feed the Nile, 
among the Hyperboreans. 
There is no city so barbarian or backward of speech 

142 



it knows nothing of the heroic fame of Peleus, the blessed 
son-in-law of the gods, 

no city that knows not of Telamonian Aias 

and his father. Alkmana's son, on his way by ship 

to battle loud in bronze at Troy, a trial of fighters, took as a 

fain helper 

Telamon with the men of Tiryns, to bring 
vengeance upon Laomedon for his deceptions. 
He took the city of Pergamon, and in the same hero's com- 
pany smote 

the hosts of the Meropes and the oxherd mountain-high, 
Alkyoneus, encountered in the Phlegraian Fields. The hand 
of Herakles spared not the deep-voiced 

bowstring. First summoning Aiakides 

to the venture, he came on the young men at their feasting. 

Strong Telamon saw him standing in the lion's skin, called 

in invitation 

Amphitryoniadas of the heavy spear 
to begin the outpouring of nectar, and put in his hands 
a wine goblet cut in shuddering gold. 
Herakles, lifting into the sky his invincible arms, 
spoke aloud: "If ever before, Zeus my father, 
you have been moved to listen kindly to prayer of mine, 

"now, in divine supplication, 

I entreat you, give this man by Eriboia a brave son 

to be .my guest and friend, and a destined man. 

Grant him strength unbreakable like this beast hide that is 

wrapped about me, 

this skin of a lion that, first of all my labors, 
I killed at Nemea long ago. 

Let his heart be such also." As he spoke the god sent 
the lord of birds, a great eagle; and sweet delight troubled 

his heart within, 

143 



and he spoke aloud, as if he had been a seer: 

"You shall have the child you ask for, my Telamon. 

For the bird that showed him forth, call him mighty Aias, to 

be 

in the tumult of armies a man of terror." 
He spoke, and sat at their table. 
It would be long for me to rehearse all the tale of their great 

deeds. 

I have come, O Muse, to minister to Phylakidas 
and Pytheas and Euthymenes their festal choruses. The Ar- 

give way 
must be my way; the fewest words. 

They have taken victories in the pankration 

thrice at the Isthmos, at leafy Nemea, 

these glorious young men with their uncle; such occasion, 

deserved of song, they have brought up into the light. 
The land of the sons of Psalychos they water 
with the shining rain of the Graces. 
Steadying the house of Themistios, they dwell here in a city 
that God loves. Lampon keeps the precept 
of Hesiod, careful training toward achievement, 
and tenders the saying urgently to his sons, 

bringing therewith brilliance upon all his city. 

Among strangers he is admired for his kindnesses. 

His mind in pursuit and possession is temperate. 

His speech keeps within purpose. You could say that as man 

among athletes he stood 
as Naxian stone among others, 
a hone to edge bronze. 
I will give them to drink limpid water of Dirke, that the 

deep-girdled maidens 
draw from the Well of Memory the golden-robed, beside 

the strong-flanked gates of Kadmos. 



144 



ISTHMIA 7 

In which of your native splendors aforetime, Thebe, 
blessed city, does your heart take most delight? 
Was it when you raised up Dionysos 
of the wide-floating hair, to be seated beside bronze-clashing 
Demeter? Or when, by midnight, you welcomed the might- 
iest 
of gods in the gold snowfall 

that time he stood in the forecourts 

of Amphitryon and approached his wife with the seed of 

Herakles in his body? 
Or for the shrewd judgments of Teiresias? 
Or for lolaos and his horsemanship? 
Or for the Sown Men of the spears that failed not? Or 

when, from the loud, strong battle, 
you sent Adrastos home, forlorn 

of his companions in their thousands to Argos, city of 

horses? 

Or when you set on upright foot 
the Dorian inroad, 
Lakedaimonians, and the Aigcidai, 
men sprung of your seed, took Amyklai by the prophecies 

of Pytho? 

But grace that is grown old 
sleeps, and men are forgetful 

of that which issues not binding the high perfection 
of poetry to bright streams of words. 
Hail, then, in song sweetly chanted 

145 



Strepsiades also; for he brings home a victory 

in the pankration won at Isthmos; a man tremendous in his 

strength and shapely to behold; and he carries courage 
that shames not his stature. 

The light of the violet-wreathing Muses is about him, 
and he has offered his garland to be shared with his uncle 

and namesake, 

whom Ares of the bronze shield gave his death, 
though honor among good men is laid up against it. 
Let him be sure, he who in that storm-cloud endures the 

bloody rain, for the sake 
of his own beloved city, 

and carries death into the hosts opposed, 

magnifies the glory of his kindred citizens 

living, and in death also. 

You, son of Diodotos, praised the way 

of Meleager, a fighter; the way of Hektor 

and Amphiaraos, 

to breathe out your flowering youth 

among the struggling champions, where the bravest 
took the stern verdict of battle among the forlorn hopes 
and endured sorrow I cannot speak of. But now 
Poseidon, who folds the earth, has granted me calm 
out of storm. I will sing this man as I lay the wreaths on his 

hair. Let no envy 
of immortals break the bloom. 

In quest of the fleeting delight 

I walk softly into old age and the period 

of doom. We die, all of us, alike; 

but our destiny is not the same. If one look afar, 

short is the way seen to reach the bronze-paved citadel of the 

gods. Yet Pegasos, 
the winged, cast down 

146 



Bellerophon, his lord, when he strove to reach 

the houses of the sky and the fellowship 

of Zeus. An end in all bitterness awaits 

the sweetness that is wrong. 

But to us, Loxias, splendid in your golden hair, grant 

in your own contests 

the blossoming garland even at Pytho. 



147 



ISTHMIA 8 

To Kleandros in the pride of his youth and in glorious 

quittance, O young men, for his striving, 

go now beside the shining porch of Telesarchos, his father, 

and wake 

the song to give him gladness for Isthmian victory 
and his strength proved at Nemean contests; and thereto I 

also, grieved though I be at heart, ask leave to call 
the golden Muse. Slipped free of great sorrows, 
let us not fall into desolation of garlands; 
cherish not your grief; we have ceased from evils above our 

strength. 

Let us communicate some sweetness even after the hardship, 
since from above our heads 
some god has turned aside that stone of Tantalos, 

a weight Hellas could never dare. But now 

the terror has gone by and taken 

away the strong brooding in my heart; it is better always to 

watch what is close at hand 

in everything. A treacherous age hangs over men's heads; 
it makes crooked the way of life. But even this can be healed 

in man, with freedom. We must be of good hope. 
A child of Thebes, the seven-gated, 
should shed the glory of the Graces upon Aigina; 
for these were twin daughters of one father, Asopos, 
the youngest, and they pleased King Zeus; 
and one he made to live by the lovely waters 
of Dirke, queen over a city of chariots, 

but you, Aigina, he carried away to Oinopia, the island, 
and lay with you, and you bore to the lord 
of the loud thunder the best of men on earth, brilliant Aiakos. 
He was judge 

148 



among the divinities even, and his godlike sons 

and his sons' sons were warlike, pre-eminent to wield the 

bitter, clashing bronze in battle. 

And they were temperate men with discretion in their hearts, 
a thing remembered in the assemblies of the blessed ones 
when Zeus and bright Poseidon came to strife over Thetis, 
each desirous to be wed to her beauty 
and possess her; the passion was on them. 
But the will of the gods did not accomplish such union, 

for they had heard things foretold. Themis, 

lady of good counsel, rose up among them and spoke 

how it was destined for this sea-goddess to bring to birth a 

lord 
stronger than his father, to wield in his hand a shaft heavier 

than the thunderbolt 
or the weariless trident, if she lay with Zeus or his brothers. 

"Let her go. 

She must come rather into a mortal bed. 
Let her look upon her son slain in battle, 
but a son like Ares for strength of hand, like the thundershaft 

for speed of his feet. 

For my part, I say grant the divine grace 
of this marriage to Aiakos' son, Peleus, 
rumored the most upright man that dwells in lolkos plain. 

"And let the messages go straightway 

to Chiron's immortal cave. 

Let not Nereus' daughter put twice in our hands the leaf- 
batlots of our contention. 

By full moon at evening let her break 

the fastening of her lovely virginity for the hero." The god- 
dess spoke before the Kronians; they 

nodded with immortal brows. The words' harvest 

faded not. They say the two kings consented 

to Thetis' marriage; and the lips of poets 

149 



have published to those who knew not of it the young 

strength of Achilles; 
who stained the Mysian vineyards 
with the dark blood of Telephos, drenching the plain; 

and made a bridge to bring the Atreidai home, 

and set Helen free, cutting 

with the spear's edge the sinews of Troy, that had fought 

him off in deadly battle 

as he did great deeds in the plain; Memnon the mighty 
and impetuous Hektor, others, chiefs among men; Achilles, 

the staunch Aiakid, showed them Persephone's house 
and revealed the glory of Aigina and the stock he came of. 
Even in death, songs did not leave him, 
but, standing beside his pyre and his grave, the maidens 
of Helikon let fall upon him their abundant dirge. 
Even the immortals were pleased 
to bestow on a brave man, though perished, the song of 

goddesses. 

Such is the truth even now, while the chariot 

of the Muses goes with speed to glorify 

Nikokles in memory of his boxing. Honor him, who in the 

Isthmian glade 
won the parsley wreath of the Dorians. He conquered the 

dwellers-about 
with the stroke of that fist none could avoid. The choice 

blood of his cousin 

does not shame him. Let one of his own age bind 
on Kleandros' brow the delicate wreath 
of myrtle for the pankration, for with success the games of 

Alkathoos ere now 

and the youth at Epidauros accepted him. 
A good man can give him all praise. 
He has not thrust down his youth untried into a place where 

splendors are hidden. 

150 



NOTES ON THE ODES 

OLYMPIA 1 

For Hieron of Syracuse. Race for horse and rider (the famous race 
horse, Pherenikos, is named). 476 B.C. Pindar was probably in Sicily 
for the presentation of the work. 

This is the first of the odes for Hieron and follows most nearly the 
normal pattern. 

OLYMPIA 2 

For Theron of Akragas in Sicily. Chariot race. 476 B.C. The same 
victory is also commemorated in Olympia 3. 

There is no central myth; the various mythical allusions repeat 
incessantly the theme of some success won after great hardship and 
culminate in the description of the blessed life after death. Theron 
had been cruel as well as kind, unhappy as well as fortunate. In 
seeing allusions to this we are not likely to be wrong. The regular 
victory ode for this occasion is Olympia 3; this poem is a manner of 
consolation. 

The allusion to the crows probably refers to Simonides and his 
nephew Bacchylides, though this has been disputed. 

OLYMPIA 3 

For the same person and victory as Olympia 2. 476 B.C. 
Herakles, the hero of the myth, was the legendary founder of the 
Olympian games. 

OLYMPIA 4 

For Psaumis of Kamarina, in Sicily. Mule chariot race. Date un- 
certain. 

OLYMPIA 5 

For the same person and victory as Olympia 4. Date uncertain. 
This is the only ode in the collection the authenticity of which has 
been questioned. 

OLYMPIA 6 

For Agcsias of Syracuse. Mule chariot race. Probably 468 B.C. 
Agesias, originally of Stymphalos in Arkadia, was a henchman of 
Hieron. He belonged to the family of the lamidai, whose hereditary 

151 



office as soothsayers is recorded down into Roman times. The myth 
tells the story of lamos, the heroic ancestor who gave his name to the 
clan. The material, what with the double divine paternity and the 
twofold or threefold allegiance of Agesias, is exceptionally com- 
plicated; but the difficulties are met with triumphant, challenging, and 
almost perverse brilliance. 

OLYMPIA 7 

For Diagoras of Rhodes. Boxing. 464 B.C. 

Diagoras is known to have been one of the exceptional athletes of 
his day. The rehearsal of his successes given here might be wearisome 
but is skilfully managed. The triple myth proceeds in a curious back- 
ward manner, the first episode recounted being the latest in time. All 
these parts embody the theme of success won, or granted by the gods, 
in spite of mistakes made. The appositeness of this may lie somewhere 
in the history of Diagoras or his family; if so, it is lost now. 

OLYMPIA 8 

For Alkimedon of Aigina. Boys' wrestling. 460 B.C. 

The ode has the characteristic features of those written for Aiginetan 
victories: the emphasis on the justice and hospitality of the Dorian 
Aiginetans and the legendary presence of Aiakos or his descendants, 
who were friends of Herakles and the gods. 

As in certain other poems for boy victors, the trainer appears in 
this case Melesias, who has been shown to be an Athenian. At this 
time Athens and Aigina, who had fought indecisively a generation 
before, were on the brink of a war which was to cost the Aiginetans 
their freedom and, ultimately, their political existence. There can be 
no doubt where Pindar's sympathies lay; there is a sense of caution 
and strain in his praise of Melesias, who was his friend and who had 
other friends in Aigina (see Nem. 4 and 6). 

OLYMPIA 9 

For Epharmostos of Opous (Opountian Lokris). Wrestling. 468 
B.C. The date is that of the Olympian victory itself; the actual presenta- 
tion of the ode seems to have been delayed. 

The main myth, difficult and not altogether clear, tells how Pyrrha 
and Deukalion repopulated the earth with stones, and of the be- 
getting of the hero Opous by Zeus apparently, two different myths 
concerning the origin of the Opountians, never successfully fused. 
The Homeric hero representing Lokris was Aias Oileus (not the 
great Aias), at whose festival the ode was produced. He might seem 

152 



to be the natural choice for myth-hero here, but Pindar barely men- 
tions him in the last line, and that only because the occasion de- 
manded it Aias was famous, but his fame was not good. 

The remarks on natural genius and acquired skill should be com- 
pared with those in the earlier Olympia 2. Here Pindar's views arc 
greatly modified. The earlier passage was probably directed against 
Simonides, of whom there are several echoes in this poem. Echo often 
conveys compliment; is this a retraction and a peace offering? 

OLYMPIA 10 

For Agesidamos of Epizephyrian Lokris (in southern Italy). Boys' 
boxing. 476 B.C. This is the date of the victory; the execution of the 
ode was obviously long delayed. Pindar was probably in Sicily at the 
time and was very busy. 

The myth tells of the first Olympic games, as founded by Herakles. 
There is less allusiveness and more simple chronicling than, perhaps, 
in any other Pindaric myth. 

OLYMPIA 11 

For the same person and victory as Olympia 10. 476 B.C. Either a 
brief preliminary offering to mitigate the foreseen postponement of 
the main ode or an additional piece thrown in by way of apology. 

OLYMPIA 12 

For Ergoteles of Himera. Distance run. 472 B.C. 

Ergoteles, who had made his home in Sicilian Himera, was a 
political exile from Krete and thus a victim (in the end a happy one) 
of Fortune, whose concept dominates the poem. 

OLYMPIA 13 

For Xenophon of Korinth. Dash and pentathlon. 464 B.C. 

The Korinthians appear as a nation of great inventors, and the 
myth appropriately tells how Bellcrophon, a Korinthian hero, by 
divin6 aid discovered die bridle and rode the winged horse. The ode 
has its splendors; but there is so much to say about Korinth, and 
Xenophon and his family have won so many victories, that Pindar 
is somewhat overwhelmed. 

OLYMPIA 14 

For Asopichos of Orchomenos. Dash. 476 B.C. is the date given, but 
it has been questioned. 
Such development of the invocation in so short a poem is un- 

153 



paralleled. This is one of Pindar's most splendid avowals of his belief 
that all human excellence comes by divine dispensation. What the 
Graces mean to him is so vivid that they almost come alive in his 
hands. 

PYTHIA 1 

For Hieron of Syracuse. Chariot race. 470 B.C. 

Two years earlier, Hieron had founded a new city near and 
named after Mount Aitna and had established his son, Deinomenes, 
as king. Pindar is far more preoccupied with this foundation than 
with the victory. 

There is no central myth, but mythical pictures and examples are 
scattered throughout the poem. The close is probably addressed to 
young Deinomenes rather than to Hieron. 

PYTHIA 2 

For Hieron of Syracuse. Chariot race. Date uncertain. This ode 
has been included in the Pythian corpus, but it is for no Pythian vic- 
tory; perhaps for one in games at Syracuse. The poem is probably 
later than Olympia 1, certainly earlier than Pythia 1 and 3. There 
seems to be an allusion to Hieron driving his chariot in person, which 
places it before the deadly sickness we hear of in the First and Third 
Pythians. 

The vivid myth of Ixion is, like other myths in the odes for 
Hieron, somewhat sinister; but the compliments which follow seem 
sincere and open. The bearing of the quasi-dialogue at the close re- 
mains a puzzle, though the meaning is clear enough. 

PYTHIA 3 

For Hieron of Syracuse. Apparently neither Pythian nor victory 
ode. A win at Pytho is mentioned but sounds remote. Date uncer- 
tain; but the illness spoken of in Pythia 1 (470 B.C.) has become hope- 
less. 468 B.C. is a possible date. 

In the myth of Asklepios and his mother we may hear the same 
note of warning against vanity and restlessness that sounds in the 
stories of Tantalos and Ixion; in the rest, sympathy and regret. The 
ode reads like a letter of farewell. 

PYTHIA 4 

For Arkesilas of Kyrene. Chariot race. 462 B.C. The same occasion 
is commemorated in Pythia 5. 

The circumstances that produced this ode are special. Damophilos 
of Kyrene, a kinsman of the young king Arkesilas, had been ban- 

154 



ishcd as the result of a quarrel. On the occasion of the king's victory 
he commissioned Pindar, his friend, to write this extraordinary ode, 
which closes with an eloquent plea for the restoration of Damophilos. 
Despite the compliments at the close, there is an unmistakable under- 
current of warning, which justifies the connecting of Damophilos' 
banishment with political upheavals, which, a few years later, cost 
Arkesilas his life. 

The tale of Jason and the winning of the Fleece is linked to Ar- 
kesilas through the presence aboard the Argo of Euphamos, ancestor 
of the Kyrenaian dynasty. Despite the unprecedented length of the 
myth, the full story is not told, even in summary; we find, rather, a 
series of brilliant episodes, of which the first in the poem, and the lat- 
est in time, dramatizes the claim of the Battiad kings to Kyrene 
through the person of Euphamos. 

PYTHIA 5 

For the same person and victory as Pythia 4. 462 B.C. 

This is the regular victory ode, commissioned by Arkesilas himself. 
The charioteer, his kinsman Karrhotos, is unusually prominent, being 
a man of mark (Arkesilas, though an expert, was no more able than 
Hieron of Syracuse to leave his domain and compete in person). The 
myth deals with Battos, colonizer and first king of Kyrene. 

PYTHIA 6 

For Xenokrates of Akragas. Chariot race. 490 B.C. 

Xenokrates was brother and colleague of Theron, ruler of Akragas 
(Second and Third Olympians). Thrasyboulos, his son and Pindar's 
close friend (see Uth. 2) was the charioteer. 

PYTHIA 7 

For Megakles of Athens. Chariot race. 486 B.C. 

Megakles was a member of the Alkmaionidai, a family of great 
political distinction at Athens. It is surprising that a Pythian chariot 
victory by this rich and famous man occasioned so short an ode. 

PYTHIA 8 

For Aristomenes of Aigina. Wrestling. Traditional and probable 
date, 446 B.C., making it, in all likelihood, the last of the victory odes. 

If the traditional date is right, Aigina was at this time a member of 
the Athenian alliance, under Athenian domination. Right-wing Ai- 
ginetans like Aristomenes may well have had other ideas, and the 

155 



crash of the giant Porphyrion may represent a necessarily veiled and 
wishful allusion to the possible downfall of Athens. 

This is the only Aiginetan ode in which the Aiakidai do not hold 
the central position, although they arc invoked at the close. The ap- 
pearance of Alkmaion to Pindar (in a dream or vision?) seems to 
have dictated his place in the ode. 

PYTHIA 9 

For Tclesikrates of Kyrene. Armored race. 478 B.C. 

The initial myth speaks for itself and dominates the poem. The 
terminal myth also deals with marriage, and it is hard to resist the 
conclusion that romance was in the air for Tclesikrates. 

PYTHIA 10 

For Hippokleas of Thessaly. Boys' two-lap race. Hippokleas is said 
to have won the single-lap dash also, but it is not mentioned in this 
poem. 498 B.C. 

This is probably Pindar's earliest victory ode, written when he was 
only twenty. Neither the young victor nor his victories were of enor- 
mous importance, but it was a chance for the poet. Pindar also ad- 
dresses himself to the boy's patron, Thorax, a great Thcssalian noble- 
man, who was later to be guilty of inviting the Persian invasion. 

At twenty, Pindar had already articulated beliefs which he was to 
hold through life: in blood and family, in the power of the gods, in 
the perilous position of human life and happiness. 

PYTHIA 11 

For Thrasydaios of Thebes. Boys' dash. Date variously given as 474 
and 454 B.C. The question has not been settled. 

The myth of Klytaimnestra and Orestes is, of course, that dealt with 
by Aeschylus in the Oresteia triology (456 B.C.). There are minor 
differences in Pindar's account, which, if the later date be accepted, 
may be meant as corrections of the version by Aeschylus. Pindar's is 
vivid enough, but why he should use the story at all in this ode is a 
mystery. It has nothing to do with Thebes, whose rich traditions 
Pindar knew by heart; it is entered through an unusually weak transi- 
tion; and Pindar himself at the close seems to wonder why he 
brought it in. It may for some reason have been stipulated in the 
contract, which would account for the remarks on writing for hire. 

Near the end of the poem, Pindar seems to feel that he must defend 
himself against charges of bad patriotism and unsound policy. The 
reference may be to his friendship with Hieron or Arkesilas, once 
more in the capacity of hired poet 

156 



PYTHIA 12 
For Midas of Akragas. Flute contest. 486 B.C. 

NEMEA 1 

For Chromios of Aitna. Chariot race. Date uncertain; but, since 
Chromios is called a citizen of Aitna, it must be later than the founda- 
tion of that city in 472 B.C. 

Chromios was one of Hieron's captains, and his fighting abilities 
and hard work brought him wealth and honor. Here, at the close of 
the myth of Herakles and in Nemea 9 for the same Chromios, is the 
theme of rest and enjoyment after work well done. 

NEMEA 2 

For Timodamos of Acharnai (near Athens) . Pankration. Date not 
given. 

NEMEA 3 

For Aristokleides of Aigina. Pankration. Date not given; but the 
language in places recalls that of Olympia 2 (476 B.C.). 

NEMEA 4 

For Timasarchos of Aigina. Boys' wrestling. Date not given but 
probably earlier than Olympia 8 (460 B.C.). 

The story of Peleus and Hippolyta is told more explicitly in 
Nemea 5. 

NEMEA 5 

For Pytheas of Aigina. Pankration. Date not given, but probably 
shortly before the Battle of Salamis (480 B.C.) . The subsequent victories 
of Pytheas* younger brother are commemorated in Isthmian 5 and 6. 

The myth is interesting in that it explains why the Aiakidai 
Peleus and Tclamon left Aigina. They had killed their half-brother, 
Phokos. The righteousness of Peleus is, however, vindicated in the 
story of his repulse of Hippolyta. 

NEMEA 6 
For Alkimidas of Aigina. Boys wrestling. Date not given. 

NEMEA 7 

For Sogenes of Aigina. Boys' pentathlon. Date not given. 

Two mythical passages are of interest. In the first, Pindar, as else- 

157 



where (Nem. 8, Isth. 4), defends Aias against Odysseus, as the strong 
and forthright man against the clever congenital liar. In the second he 
corrects himself for having (in the Sixth Paian) spoken too harshly 
of Ncoptolemos, Achilleus' son. Neoptolemos was a cruel warrior, 
who cut down the aged Priam without mercy; but he was son to 
Achilleus, therefore one of the Aiakidai and a hero dear to the 
hearts of Pindar's Aiginetan friends. Pindar will not admit that he 
has made any mistake, but his concern is so great that it haunts the 
latter part of the poem and bursts out again at the close. This is an 
effective illustration of the seriousness with which the Greeks took 
their heroic legends. 

NEMEA 8 

For Deinias of Aigina. Two-lap race. Date not given. 

The myth of Aias, who is defended against Odysseus, turns into a 
diatribe against invidious citizens or, perhaps, Pindar's personal 
enemies. 

NEMEA 9 

For Chromios of Aitna. Chariot race, at Sikyon, not Nemea. Date 
not given, but shortly after 472 B.C., as the foundation of Aitna in that 
year is called "recent." Chromios is the winner of a chariot race, cele- 
brated in the First Nemean. 

Amphiaraos, the one just man among the Seven against Thebes, 
is a favorite of Pindar's, though an "enemy." 

NEMEA 10 

For Theaios of Argos. Wrestling, at the Argive Hekatomboia, not 
Nemea. Date not given, but the poem is usually considered to be 
late. 

This is the first and only ode for a winner from Argos, a city so rich 
in legendary traditions that the invocation rings throughout with 
heroic names. It is curious that the myth ultimately chosen is that of 
Kastor and Polydeukes, who were strictly Lakedaimonians and 
Argives only in the wider sense. 

NEMEA 11 

For Aristagoras of Tenedos. Not Nemean or a victory ode (al- 
though Aristagoras is an athlete whose achievements are praised). 
The occasion is the installation of the annual "prytanis" at Tenedos. 

The poem follows, in general, the outline of the epinician ode but 
is almost wholly personal. There is no myth. 

158 



1STHMIA 1 

For Herodotos of Thebes. Chariot race. Date not given; but the 
allusions to misfortunes and exile may well refer to political up- 
heavals at Thebes in and after 480 B.C. 

Herodotos had driven the chariot himself, so that the praise of 
lolaos and Kastor, great athletes of the heroic age, is apposite. Pindar 
postponed the writing of a poem for the Delians (possibly the Twelfth 
Paian) in order to finish this ode; there are few Theban victories in 
his list, and they meant much to him. 

ISTHMIA 2 

For Xenokrates of Akragas. Chariot race. Date not given, but 
approximately 470 B.C. 

Xenokrates and his son Thrasyboulos are the victors of Pythia 6 
(490 B.C.). Xenokrates had apparently died in the interval between 
this victory and the completion of this poem, which was sent overseas 
through Nikasippos and was addressed to Thrasyboulos, Pindar's 
friend. The personal bond between the two men probably accounts 
for the interesting tone of apology in the opening. Pindar hates to 
charge his friend a stiff price, or any price at all, but he must live. 

ISTHMIA 3 

For Melissos of Thebes. Chariot race at Nemea. See hthmia 4, with 
which this poem forms a single piece. 

ISTHMIA 4 

For Melissos of Thebes. Pankration. Date uncertain but thought to 
be later than 479 B.C., since the death of members of the house in 
battle and attendant misfortunes are best referred to the Battle of 
Plataia and the period thereafter. 

Melissos, it appears, won a victory in the pankration at the Isthmos 
and commissioned Pindar to write the ode. Before it had been pre- 
sented, Melissos won the chariot race at Nemea, which occasioned die 
addition of a triad at the beginning of the poem. This triad is Isthmia 
3. The two parts are identical in metrical structure. 

After so many handsome and stately athletes, it comes as a shock 
to hear Melissos described as not much to look at. He appears to have 
been a small, tough, and probably dirty fighter; and Pindar must have 
known him well to speak so frankly, though the passage is compli- 
mentary in a left-handed way. It is no less a shock to hear that 
Herakles was small, but there was an independent tradition to that 
effect 

159 



1STHM1A 5 

For Phylakidas of Aigina. Pankration. Date, shordy after the 
battle of Salamis (480 B.C.), in which Herodotos records that the 
Aiginetan contingent was awarded the prize for valor. 

Nemca 5 celebrates the victory of Py theas, Phylakidas' elder brother, 
and Isthmia 6 a previous win by Phylakidas. This is the last of the 
series. 

ISTHMIA 6 

For Phylakidas of Aigina. Boys' pankration. Date, shortly before 
the Batde of Salamis, perhaps in the same year (480 B.C.). For the 
circumstances see Isthmia 5. 

The myth of Telamon proceeds backward to the point at which 
Herakles prays for and predicts the birth of a great son, Aias, to his 
friend. 

ISTHMIA 7 

For Strepsiades of Thebes. Pankration. Date not given; but the 
batde of which Pindar speaks in the poem has been thought, with 
good reason, to be the one fought in 457 B.C. at Oinophyta, in which 
Athens defeated the Thebans and won control of Boiotia. Pindar's 
allusion to his own advanced age supports this. 

For myth is substituted the heroic death in this batde of Strep- 
siades' uncle of the same name, with the recollection of Meleager, 
Hektor, and Amphiaraos, all brave men who lost. On this interpreta- 
tion, the fall of Bellerophon is like the fall of Porphyrion in Pythia 
8 an allusion aimed at Athens. 

ISTHMIA 8 

For Kleandros of Aigina. Boys' pankration. Date not given, but 
almost certainly 478 B.C. The Thcban Pindar's mixed feelings of relief 
and sorrow over the outcome of the Persian War are nowhere made 
more plain. 

The myth constitutes a particularly clear and explicit chapter in 
the life of Pindar's beloved Aiakid hero, Peleus. 



160 



GLOSSARY OF NAMES 

This glossary is not an exhaustive index. It is intended simply as a guide 
to the better understanding of Pindar's references. Accents on names are not 
quantitative but denote syllabic stress as used in making this translation. 

ABAS. Legendary king of Argos. Pyth. 8. 

ADRAS'TOS. King of Argos, who led the Seven against Thebes. See POLYNEIKES. 

Ol. 6, Pyth. 8, etc. 
AGE'SIAS. Victor, Ol. 6. 
AGESI'DAMOS. Victor. Ol. 10, 11. 
AGESI'DAMOS. Father of Chromios. Nem. 1, 9. 
AGLAI'A. One of the Graces. Ol. 14. 
AI'AKOS. Son of Zeus and Aigina, father of Pcleus and Telamon (also of 

Phokos), who, with their descendants, are called the "Aiakidai." Ol. 8, 

Pyth. 8, etc. 

AIGAI. A place in Achaia, sacred to Poseidon. Nem. 5. 
AI'GEIDAI. "The sons of Aigeus," a clan in Thebes to which Pindar belonged 

(Pyth. 5). They assisted in the Dorian conquest of Lakedaimon and in 

the colonization of Thcra and, thence, of Kyrene. Thus there were branches 

of the Aigeidai in all those places. Pyth. 5, Jsth. 7. 
AIGI'MIOS. Ancestor of the Dorians, who befriended Hyllos, the son of 

Heraklcs. Pyth. 1, 5. 

AIGIS'THOS. Klytaimnestra's lover, killed by Orestes. Pyth. 11. 
AINE'AS. Presumably a Stymphalian, the leader of the chorus which per- 
formed Olympia 6. 

AINESI'DAMOS. Father of Theron. 01. 2, 3; Isth. 2. 
AIO'LIANS. A Greek tribe said to have migrated from Boiotia and Thessaly 

to Asia Minor and the islands near by. Ol. 1, Nem. 11, etc. 
AI'OLOS. Ancestor of Jason. Pyth. 4. 
AITNA. Mount Etna; also, a city of the same name near the mountain, founded 

by Hieron as the domain of his son, Deinomenes, Pyth. 1, etc. 
AITO'LIAN. Aitolia was a district of northwestern Greece. The inhabitants of 

Elis claimed Aitolian descent. 01. 3, Isth. 5. 
AKAS'TOS. King of the Minyai and lord of lolkos, who attempted to murder 

Pelcus. Nem. 4, 5. 

ALA'TAS. A primeval king of Korinth. Ol. 13. 
ALEI/AS. Father or ancestor of Thorax. The family were known as the 

Aleuadai. Pyth. 10. 

ALEXI'BIOS. Father of Karrhotos. Pyth. 5. 

ALKAI'OS. Father of Amphitryon, grandfather (putative) of Heraklcs. 01. 6. 
ALKI*MEDON. Victor, OL 8. 
ALKI'MIDAS. Victor, Nem. 6. 

161 



ALKMA'NA. Mother of Herakles. Ol. 7, Nem. 1, etc. 

ALKMA'ON. Son of Amphiaraos. Pyth. 8. 

ALKYO'NEUS. A giant, struck down by Herakles. Nem. 4, Isth. 6. 

AL'PHEUS. The river which flows by Olympia. Ol. 1, 2, 3, etc. 

A'MENAS. A stream on which the city of Aitna was built. Pyth. 1. 

AMMON. An Egyptian god identified with Zeus. Pyth. 4. 

AMPHIARA'OS. One of the Seven against Thebes (see POLYNLIKES). A sooth- 
sayer who foresaw the disastrous end of the expedition, he went against 
his will and was considered the one virtuous man in a violent and godless 
company. As he fled in the rout, the earth opened before his chariot and 
engulfed him alive, after which he was worshiped as a divine, oracular 
hero. 01. 6, Pyth. 8, Nem. 9, Isth. 7. 

AMPHITRI'TE. A sea-goddess, wife of Poseidon. 01. 6. 

AMPHITRYO'NIADAS. Herakles, putative son of Amphitryon. Isth. 6. 

AMY'KLAI. A fortress near Sparta, once independent; in Pindar (not in 
Homer or Attic tragedy) the home of Agamemnon. Pyth. 1, 11; Isth. 7. 

ANTAI'OS. King of Irasa. Pyth. 9. 

ANTAI'OS. A giant who wrestled with Herakles and was killed by him. 
Isth. 4. 

ANTI'LOCHOS. Son of Nestor, killed at Troy by Memnon while rescuing his 
father. Pyth. 6. 

APHA'REUS. Father of Idas and Lynkeus. Nem. 10. 

ARCHI'LOCHOS. Of Paros, a poet who lived probably in the early seventh 
century B.C. (date uncertain and much disputed). Enough of his work 
remains to indicate that he was a first-rate poet, powerful and original: 
but it is clear that Pindar disapproved of him. He was illegitimate, fol- 
lowed the calling of a professional soldier, and was probably well ac- 
quainted with poverty and unhappiness. He was particularly famous for 
talents in satire and invective, as Pindar also indicates. His fragments show 
such talent, but much besides. Ol. 9, Pyth. 2 

ARETHOU'SA. A spring on Ortygia. Pyth. 3. 

AIUSTA'GORAS. Victor, Nem. 11. 

ARISTOKLEI'DES. Victor, Nem. 3. 

ARISTO'MENES. Victor, Pyth. 8. 

ARISTO'TELES. The true (Greek) name of Battos. Pyth. 5. 

ARKE'SILAS. victor. Pyth. 14, 5. 

ARSI'NOE. The nurse of Orestes (variously named in other versions of the 
story). Pyth. 11. 

ASO'PICHOS. Victor, Ol. 14. 

ASO'POS. A river (and river-god) in Boiotia, father of the nymphs Aigina and 
Thebe. Isth. 8. 

ASO'POS. A river in Sikyon. Nem. 9. 

ASTYDAMEI'A. The wife of Tlepolemos. Ol. 7. 

ATABY'RIOS. A mountain in Rhodes, sacred to Zeus. OL 7. 

ATREI'DAI. Agamemnon and Menelaos, the sons of Atrcus. Isth. 5. 

AU'GEAS. King of the Epeians, whose stables Herakles was forced to clean. 
01. 10. 

162 



BAS'SIDAI. The family or clan to which Alkimidas belonged. Nem. 6. 
BATTOS. Of Thera, founder and first king of Kyrene. His true name appears 

to have been Aristoteles, Battos being a nickname or (more probably) a 

Libyan title. Pyth. 4, 5. 

BLEP'SIADAI. The family or clan of Alkimcdon. OL 8. 
BOI'BIAS. A lake in Thessaly. Pyth. 3. 
BO'REAS. The god of the north wind. Pyth. 4. 

CHA'RIADAI. The family or clan to which Deinias belonged. Nem. 8. 

CHA'RIKLO. Wife of Chiron. Pyth. 4. 

CHIMAI'RA. A fabulous beast killed by Bellerophon, Ol. 13. 

CHIRON. The wise and kind centaur, teacher of Jason, Peleus, Asklepios, and 

other heroes. He was son of Kronos and Philyra, therefore half-brother of 

Zeus. Pyth. 3, 4, 9, etc. 
CHRO'MIOS. Victor, Nem. 1, 9. 

DAMAI'OS. A cult name ("the tamer") of Poseidon. Ol. 13. 

DA'NAOS. A legendary Egyptian prince, who fled from his brother Aigyptos 
to Argos with his fifty daughters. They were pursued there by the fifty 
sons of Aigyptos, who forced Danaos to give them his daughters in mar- 
riage. All the brides except Hypermestra murdered their husbands on 
their wedding night. Pyth. 9, Nem. 10. 

DARDA'NIANS. Trojans. Nem. 3. 

DA'RDANOS. Son of Zeus, ancestor of the kings of Troy. Ol. 13. 

DAWN'S CHILD. Memnon. Ol. 2. 

DEI'NIAS. Victor, Nem. 8. 

DEINO'MENES. Father of Hieron. Pyth. 1, 2. 

DEINO'MENES. Son of Hieron. Pyth. 1. 

DELOS. The birthplace of Apollo. 01. 6, etc. 

DIA'GORAS. Victor, Ol. 7. 

DIOME'DES. A hero prominent in the Trojan War, worshiped in various 
places in Italy. Nem. 10. 

DIRKE. A river near Thebes. Ol. 10, 1st A. 1, etc. 

DI'THYRAMB. A hymn in honor of Dionysos, one of the elements from which 
tragedy evolved. OL 13. 

DODO'NA. A place in northwestern Greece, sacred to Zeus. Nem. 4. 

DORIAN, DORIANS. A people said to have conquered a large part of southern 
Greece about two generations after the Trojan War. As the conquerors 
mixed with the conquered peoples, no Greek states were entirely Dorian; 
but the Dorian element was predominant in (among other states) Sparta, 
Afgos, Korinth, Aigina, Kyrene. Ol. 1, Pyth. 1, etc. 

EILA'TIDAS. Aipytos. Ol. 6. 

ELEITHY'IA. The goddess of childbirth. 01. 6, Nem. 7, etc. 
ELIS. The state which, in Pindar's time, controlled Olympia. Ol. 1, 9, etc. 
EMME'NIDAI. The family or clan of Theron. Ol. 3, Pyth. 6. 
ENDA'IS. Wife of Aiakos, mother of Peleus and Telamon. Nem. 5. 
ENYA'LIOS. Ares. Ol. 13, Isth. 6. 

E'PAPHOS. An Egyptian divinity said by the Greeks to be the son of lo and 
Zeus, father of Libya. Pyth. 4, Nem. 10. 

163 



EPEI'ANS. An ancient name for the people of Elis. Ol. 9, 10. 

EPHARMOS'TOS. Victor, Ol. 9. 

EPHYRAI'ANS. Of Ephyra, in Thcssaly. The choir who sang Pythia 10 were 
apparently from this place. 

EPIAL'TES. See Oros. 

ERA'TIDAI. The family or clan of Diagoras. OL 7. 

ERGO'TELES. Victor, Ol. 12. 

ERIBOI'A. Wife of Tclamon. Isth. 6. 

ERI'NYS, plural ERINYES. A Fury, the Furies. Ol. 2. 

ERIPHY'LE. Wife of Amphiaraos, who was bribed into persuading him to 
take part in the expedition against Thebes. Nem. 9. 

ERITI'MOS. A relative of Xenophon. Ol. 13. 

EUPHRO'SYNA. One of the Graces. Ol. 14. 

EURI'POS. The strait at Aulis, between Boiotia and Euboia, where Agamem- 
non's fleet was stormbound and Iphigeneia was sacrified. Pyth. 11. 

EURO'TAS. The river on which Sparta is built. 01. 6; Isth. 1, 5. 

EURY'ALA. One of the Gorgons. Pyth. 12. 

EURYS'THEUS. King of Argos, to whom Herakles was in bondage and at 
whose orders he performed the twelve labors. 01. 3, Pyth. 9. 

EURY'TOS. See MOLIONES. 

EUTHY'MENES. Uncle of Pytheas and Phylakidas. Nem. 5, Isth. 6. 

EUXINE SEA. The Black Sea. Nem. 4. 

GE'RYON. A legendary king in the remote west, whose cattle Herakles stole. 

Isth. 1. 
GLAUKOS. Grandson of Bellerophon, a Lykian hero who fought on the side 

of Troy. Ol. 13. 

HAIMO'NIA. Thessaly. Nem. 4. 

HARMO'NIA. Wife of Kadmos. Pyth. 3, 11. 

HE'BE. Goddess of youth, bride of the deified Herakles. Nem. 1, 7, etc. 

HE'LENOS. Son of Priam. Nem. 3. 

HL/LIKON. A mountain in Boiotia, home of the Muses. Isth. 2. 

HE'LIOS. The sun and the sun-god. Ol. 7, Pyth. 4, Isth. 5. 

HELO'ROS. A river in Sicily. Nem. 9. 

HERO'DOTOS. Victor, Isth. 1. 

HES'TIA. The goddess of the hearth. Nem. 11. 

HI'ERON. Tyrant of Syracuse; victor, Ol. 1; Pyth. 1, 2, 3. 

HI'MERA. An important city in Sicily. There were famous warm springs 

there, sacred to the Nymphs. Ol. 12. 
HIP'PARIS. A river at Kamarina. Ol. 5. 
HIPPO'KLEAS. Victor, Pyth. 10. 
HIPPO'LYTA. Wife of Akastos. Nem. 4, 5. 

HYLLOS. Son of Herakles, ancestor of one of the three Dorian tribes. Pyth. 1. 
HYPERBORE'ANS. A mythical (or mythically imagined) people who lived "at 

the back of the north wind." Ol. 3, Pyth. 10, Isth. 5. 
HYPER E'IS. A spring at Phcrai, near lolkos. Pyth. 4. 
HYPERMES'TRA. See DANAOS. 
HYPSI'PYLE. Queen of the women of Lcmnos. 01. 4. 

164 



IA'LYSOS. Grandson of Helios and Rhodes, after whom one of the Rhodian 

cities is said to have been named. 01. 7. 
IA'PETOS. Grandfather of Deukalion. Ol. 9. 
IDA. A mountain on Kretc, where Zeus was born. Ol. 5. 
IDAS. Son of Aphareus, the strongest of all men of his time. He was killed 

by Zeus in the fight with Kastor and Polydeukes. Nem. 10. 
ILAS. The friend and trainer of Agcsidamos. OL 10. 
INO. Daughter of Kadmos, who went mad and killed her own children. She 

leapt into the sea and became a sea-goddess. OL 2, Pyth. 11. 
IOLA'OS. The nephew and comrade-in-arms of Herakles. Games were held 

in his honor near Thebes. OL 9, Isth. 1, etc. 
IOL'KOS. A town in Magnesia. Pyth. 4; Nem. 3, 4; Isth. 8. 
IONIAN SEA. The sea west of Greece and south of the Adriatic. Pyth. 3. 
TPHIKLES. Brother of Herakles, father of lolaos. Pyth. 9, Isth. 1. 
IPHI'ON. Presumably the father of Alkimedon. OL 8. 
I'RASA. A city in Libya near Kyrene. Pyth. 9. 
ISME'NOS. A river at Thebes. Nem. 9, 11. 
ISTROS. The Danube. OL 3, 8. 

KADMEI'ANS. The inhabitants of Thebes in the heroic age. Pyth. 9, etc. 
KADMOS. A Phoenician wanderer who became the legendary founder of 

Thebes. OL 2, Pyth. 3, etc. 
KA'IKOS. A river in Mysia. Isth. 5. 
KAL'LIANAX. Ancestor of Diagoras. Ol. 7. 
KAL'LIAS. An ancestor or relative of Alkimidas. Nem. 6. 
KALLI'MACHOS. Thought to be the uncle of Alkimedon. OL 8. 
KAMI'ROS. Grandson of Helios and Rhodes, after whom one of the Rhodian 

cities is said to have been named. Ol. 7. 
KASTA'LIA. A spring at Delphoi. OL 7, 9, etc. 
KASTOR. See TYNDARIDAI. 
KE'PHISIS. The daughter of Kephisos. Pyth. 12. 
KE'PHISOS. A river in Boiotia. Pyth. 4, OL 14. 
KILI'KIA. A country on the coast of Asia Minor. Pyth. 1. 
KI'NYRAS. Legendary king of Kypros. Pyth. 2, Nem. 8. 
KIRRHA. Strictly, a town near Delphoi, of uncertain location and identity 

and probably to be distinguished from Krisa. Pindar, however, uses both 

names loosely as synonyms for Delphoi or Pytho. Kirrha: Pyth. 3, 7, 8, 10, 

11; Krisa: PyM. 5, 6', Isth. 2. 
KITHAI'RON. A mountain range between Attika and Boiotia, on the northern 

dopes of which the Battle of Plataia was fought. Pyth. 1. 
KLEAN'DROS. Victor, Isth. 8. 
KLEITOR. A city in Arkadia. Nem. 10. 
KLEO. One of the Muses. Nem. 3. 

KLEO'NAI. A city in the northern Pcloponnese. Ol. 10; Nem. 4, 10. 
KLEO'NYMOS. Ancestor of Mclissos. Isth. 3, 4. 
KLOTHO. One of the Fates. OL 1, Isth. 6. 
KLY'MENOS. Father of Erginos, one of the Argonauts, who is mentioned in 

Olympia 4 only as the "son of Klymenos." 
KNOSSOS. The chief city of Krete. OL 12. 

165 



KOIRA'NIDAS. "The son of Koiranos," Polyidos, a Korinthian sccr. 01. 13. 
KOLCHIS. A land at the eastern end of the Black Sea, whence Jason brought 

home the Golden Fleece. Pyth. 4. 

KREON'TIDAS. An ancestor or relative of Alkimidas. Nem. 6. 
KRE'THEUS. Father of Aison, grandfather of Jason, Pyth. 4. 
KRISA. Sec KIRRHA. 

KRO'NION. "The son of Kronos," that is, Zeus. Pyth. 1, etc. 
KRONOS. The father of Zeus. Ol. 1, etc. 
KTE'ATOS. See MOLIONES. 

KYKNOS. Son of Poseidon, killed by Achilles at Troy. Ol. 2, Isth. 5. 
KYKNOS. Son of Ares, -a robber killed by Herakles in their second encounter. 

01. 10. 

KVLLA'NA. A mountain in Arkadia, where Hermes was born. Ol. 6. 
KYME. Cumae, on the Italian coast north of Naples. Pyth. 1. 
KYPRIAN, THE. Aphrodite. Ol. 1. 
KYPRIS. Aphrodite. Nem. 8. 

LAB'DAKOS. Ancestor of Melissos. Isth. 3. 

LA'CHESIS. One of the Fates. Ol. 7. 

LAIOS. King of Thebes, father of Oidipous. Oidipous killed him without 

knowing his identity. The story is well known through the play of 

Sophocles. Ol. 2. 

LAKEREI'A. A place in Thessaly. Pyth. 3. 
LAMPRO'MACHOS. A relative of Epharmostos. Ol. 9. 
LAO'MEDON. King of Troy, killed by Herakles. Nem. 3, Isth. 6. 
LA'PITHAI. A legendary people of Thessaly. Pyth. 9. 
LATO. Often called Latona, mother of Artemis and Apollo. Ol. 3, 8. 
LATO'IDAS. "The son of Lato," Apollo. Pyth. 3. 
LATTER-BORN, THE. The sons of the Seven against Thebes, who took the 

city. Pyth. 8. 

LEMNOS. An island in the northern Aegean. Ol. 4; Pyth. 1, 4. 
LERNA. A place near Argos on the sea. Ol. 7. 
LINDOS. Grandson of Helios and Rhodes, after whom one of the Rhodian 

cities is said to have been named. Ol. 7. 
LOKROS. Descendant of Deukalion, king of the Lokrians, adoptive father of 

the younger Opous. 01. 9. 
LO'XIAS. Apollo. Pyth. 3, Isth. 7. 

LYN'KEUS. Son of Aigyptos, husband of Hypermestra. Nem. 10. 
LYN'KEUS. Son of Aphareus, "the lynx man," with supernatu rally keen 

sight. Nem. 10. 

MAGNESIA. A region in southeastern Thessaly. Pyth. 2, 3, 4; Nem. 5. 

MAI'NALON or MAI'NALOS. A mountain in Arkadia. Ol. 9. 

MANTINE'A. An important city in Arkadia. Ol. 10. 

MEDES. Used loosely by most Greeks to mean Persians and Persian subjects. 

Pyth. 1. 

ME'GAKLES. Victor, Pyth. 7. 

ME'GARA. An important Dorian city near Athens. Ol. 7, Pyth. 8, Nem. 3. 
ME'GARA. Wife of Herakles. Isth. 4. 

166 



MEIDY'LIDAI. The family or clan of Aristomcncs. Pyth. 8. 

MELANIP'POS. A Thcban hero. Nem. 11. 

MELEA'GER. Son of Oincus, famous in the story of the Kalydonian Boar; but 
in Pindar, as in Homer, thought of primarily as the defender of a be- 
leaguered city. Isth. 7. 

MELE'SIAS. A wrestler and trainer of wrestlers. Ol. 8; Nem. 4, 6. 

MELIA. Mother by Apollo of two sons. Pyth. 11. 

MELIS'SOS. Victor, Isth. 3, 4. 

MENAN'DROS. Trainer of Pytheas. Nem. 5. 

MENOI'TIOS. Son of Aktor and Aigina, father of Patroklos. OL 9. 

ME'ROPES. A legendary people of the island of Kos. Nem. 4, ////;. 6. 

ME'TOPE. A Stymphalian nymph, mother of Thebe. OL 6. 

MIDAS. Victor, Pyth. 12. 

MI'DEA. The mother of Likymnios. Ol. 7. 

MI'DEA. A town near Argos. OL 10. 

MI'NYAI. A people of Orchomenos and southern Thessaly; also, a collective 
name for the Argonauts. OL 14, Pyth. 4. 

MOLIO'NES. Eurytos and Kteatos, twin sons of Poseidon and nephews of 
Augeas. They waylaid and defeated Herakles and his army, but Herakles 
later ambushed them in turn and killed both. OL 10. 

MOLOS'SIA. A half-Greek kingdom on the Adriatic. Nem. 7. 

MYR'MIDONS. The legendary subjects of Aiakos and of Achilles. Nem. 3. 

NE'REUS. A sea-god, father of the Nereids, who were sea-nymphs. Ol. 2, 

Pyth. 3, Nem. 3, Isth. 8. 

NIKASIP'POS. Presumably, the trainer of the choir for Isthmia 2. 
Nisos. A legendary king of Megara. Pyth. 9, Nem. 5. 

O'IKLES. Father of Amphiaraos. Pyth. 8, etc. 

OI'NEUS. Legendary king of Aitolia. Isth. 5. 

OINO'NA. The island of Aigina. Nem. 4, etc. 

OINO'PIA. Oinona. Isth. 8. 

OLIGAI'THIDAI. The family or clan of Xenophon. OL 13. 

ONCHES'TOS. A place in Boiotia, sacred to Poseidon. Isth. 1,5. 

O'POUS. (1) A king of the Epeians in Elis. (2) The son of Opous* daughter 

and Zeus, adopted by Lokros. The younger Opous is not directly named 

but is described as being called after his mother's father. OL 9. 
ORESTES. Son of Agamemnon, of Lakonia (Lakedaimon), according to 

Stcsichoros and Pindar; of Mykenai or Argos, according to others. Pyth. 

ll,Nem. 11. 

OR'SEAS. Trainer of Melissos. Isth. 4. 
ORTHOSIA. A cult-name of Artemis. OL 3. 
ORTY'GIA. An island, sacred to Artemis, forming part of the city of Syracuse. 

OL 6, Pyth. 2, Nem. 1. 
OTOS. A giant, brother of Epialtes. Pyth. 4. 

PAM'PHAES. Ancestor of Theaios. Nem. 10. 

PAM'PHYLOS. Ancestor of one of the Dorian tribes. Pyth. 1. 

PANGAI'OS or PANGAION. A mountain in Thrace. Pyth. 4. 

167 



PARNAS'SOS. The great mountain above Delphoi, which is built on one of 

its spurs, overlooking a deep valley. 01. 9; Pyth. 1, 10, etc. 
PARRHA'SIANS. A people of Arkadia, in charge of the games for Zeus Lykaios. 

01.9. 

PEIRA'NA. A spring in Korinth. 01. 13. 
PEISAN'DROS. A legendary Spartan colonist of Tenedos, ancestor of Aristagoras. 

Nem. 11. 

PELEI'ADAS. The son of Peleus, Achilles. Pyth. 6. 

PELEI'ADES. The Pleiades; in Greek legend the daughters of Atlas. Nem. 2. 
PELIN'NA. A place in Thessaly on the Peneios, home of Hippokleas. Pyth. 10. 
PE'LION. A wooded mountain in Magnesia, the home of the centaurs. Pyth. 

2, 3, etc. 
PELOPS. Son of Tantalos, grandfather of Agamemnon and Menelaos. The 

southern peninsula of Greece, the Peloponnese ("island of Pclops"), was 

supposed to have been named after him. Ol. 1, 3, etc. 
PENEI'OS. A large river in Thessaly, and its river-god. Pyth. 9, 10. 
PER'GAMON or PERGAMOS. Troy. Ol. 8. 
PERIKLY'MENOS. The Thcban champion who put Amphiaraos to flight. 

Nem. 9. 

PHAISA'NA. An Arkadian or Elian town of uncertain location. Ol. 6. 
PHA'LARIS. Tyrant of Akragas in the early sixth century B.C. Pyth. 1. 
PHASIS. A river in Kolchis. Pyth. 4, Isth. 2. 
PHERENI'KOS. A race horse belonging to Hieron. Ol. 1, Pyth. 3. 
PHILOKTE'TES. Son of Poias, an Achaian hero, who inherited the bow of 

Herakles. Infected by a snake bite on his way to Troy with Agamemnon, 

he was marooned on Lemnos; but since it was fated that Troy could be 

captured only with the aid of Herakles' bow, the Achaians were forced to 

send an embassy and persuade him to return. The story is told by many 

ancient authors, with many variants. Pyth. 1. 
PHI'LYRA. The mother of Chiron. Pyth. 3, 4, etc. 
PHINTIS. Presumably the charioteer of Agesias. Ol. 6. 
PHLEGRAI'AN FIELDS. A volcanic region near Naples. Nem. 1, Isth. 6. 
PHLE'GYAS. The father of Koronis. Pyth. 3. 
PHOKOS. Son of Aiakos and Psamatheia, half-brother of Peleus and Telamon. 

He was murdered by them, and this was why these heroes were forced 

to leave Aigina. Nem. 5. 
PHORKOS. Father of the Graiai, the three aged women whose one eye was 

stolen by Perseus. Pyth. 12. 
PHRIXOS. Son of Athamas. He escaped from the attacks of his stepmother, 

Ino, by means of the golden-fleeced ram, which carried him to Kolchis. 

There Phrixos sacrificed the ram and hung up the fleece. The story is 

told with many variants. Phrixos was a cousin of Jason and Pelias. Pyth. 4. 
PHTHIA. A part of Thessaly, the home of Achilles. Pyth. 3, Nem. 4. 
PHYLA'KA. A city in Thessaly. Isth. 1. 
PHYLA'KIDAS. Victor, Isth. 5, 6. 
PIE'RIDES. The Muses, of Pieria. 01. 10, Pyth. 1, etc. 
PINDOS. A mountain range in north-central Greece, once the home of the 

Dorians. Pyth. 1, 9. 

POLYDEl/KES. See TYNDARIDAI. 

168 



POLYMNA'STOS. The father of Battos. Pyth. 4. 

POLYNEI'XES. Son of Oidipous. He and his brother, Eteokles, were to rule 
Thebes in turn after Oidipous was driven out. Eteokles broke the agree- 
ment. Polyneikcs fled to Argos, married the daughter of Adrastos, and 
returned with the Seven against Thebes to attack his own city. Polyneikes 
and Eteokles killed each other. The attack on the city was repulsed, but 
the sons of the Seven Champions took Thebes in the next generation. (Cf . 
Aeschylus, The Seven against Thebes; Sophocles, Antigone, Oidipous at 
Kolonos; Euripides, The Phoenician Women.) 01. 2. 
t POLYTI'MIDAS. A brother (probably) of Alkimidas. Nem. 6. 

PROITOS. Legendary king of Tiryns. Nem. 10. 

PROTESILA'OS. A Thessalian hero, killed at Troy. Isth. 1. 

PROTOCENEI'A. Daughter of Deukalion and Pyrrha. 01. 9. 

PSAMATHEI'A. "The girl of the sand," mother of Phokos by Aiakos. Nem. 

PSAUMIS. Victor, 01. 4, 5. 
PTOIODO'ROS. A relative of Xenophon. 01. 13. 
PY'LADES. Comrade-in-arms of Orestes. Pyth. 11. 
PY'THEAS. Victor, Nem. 5. 

RHADAMAN'THYS. One of the judges of the dead. 01. 2, Pyth. 2. 
RHEA. Mother of Zeus. Ol. 2, Nem. 11. 

SALMO'NEUS. Father of Tyro, grandfather of Pelias, who attempted to assume 
the thunderbolt of Zeus and was struck down. Pyth. 4. 

SE'MELE. Daughter of Kadmos and mother, by Zeus, of Dionysos. OL 2, 
Pyth. 11. 

SE'RIPHOS. An island in the Aegean, where Danae and Perseus were washed 
ashore. When Perseus returned with the Gorgon's head, the wicked 
king, Polydcktes, and his people were turned to stone. Pyth. 12. 

SI'KYON. A Dorian city on the Gulf of Korinth. Ol. 13, etc. 

SI'PYLOS. A mountain in Lydia. 01. 1. 

SfsYPHOS. A legendary hero of Korinth, usually described as clever but un- 
scrupulous. Ol. 13. 

SKYROS. An island in the northwestern Aegean, where Neoptolemos was 
born. Nem. 7. 

SO'GENES. Victor, Nem. 7. 

SO'LYMOI. A barbarous people of Asia Minor. Ol. 13. 

SO'STHATOS. The father of Agesias. Ol. 6. 

SOWN MEN. The warriors who sprang up from the gro, 
sowed the dragon's teeth, that is, the Kadmeians < 

STREPSI'ADES. Victor, Isth. 7, 

STRO'PHIOS. Legendary king of Phokis, father of 

STYM'PHALOS. A town in Arkadia. Ol. 6. 

TAI'NARON. A mountainous promontory of the 
spoken of as an entrance to Hades. Pyth. 4. 
TA'LAOS. Father of Adrastos. Nem. 9. 



TAY'GETA. A Lakcdaimonian nymph, sacred to Artemis. Ol. 3. 
TAY'GETOS. A mountain range overlooking the valley of Sparta. Pyth. 1, 

Nem. 10. 

TE'GEA. An important city in Arkadia. Ol. 10, Nem. 10. 
TEIRE'SIAS. A legendary seer of Thebes, prominent in Sophoclean tragedy. 

Nem. 1, Isth. 7. 
TE'LEPHOS. A Mysian hero. When the Achaians invaded his land, on the 

way to Troy, he put them all to flight until wounded by Achilles. 

01. 9;frM.5, 8. 
TELESI'KRATES. Victor, Pyth. 9. 
TERP'SIAS. A relative of Xenophon. OL 13. 
TEUKROS. Son of Telamon, half-brother of Aias. Nem. 4. 
TEUTHRAS. King of Mysia in Asia Minor. Ol. 9. 
THA'LIA. One of the Graces. Ol. 14. 
THEAI'OS. Victor, Nem. 10. 

THEAN'DRIDAI. The family or clan of Timasarchos. Nem. 4. 
THEA'RION. The building allotted to the theoroi, who were designated to 

consult oracles on behalf of the state. Nem. 3. 
THE'BE. The nymph of Thebes, daughter of Asopos and Metope, sister of 

Aigina. Ol. 6, etc. 

THEMIS. Goddess of order. OL 8, etc. 

THEMIS'TIOS. Grandfather of Pythcas and Phylakidas. Nem. 5, Isth. 6. 
THERA. A Dorian island in the southern Aegean. Pyth. 4, 5. 
THERAP'NE. A place near Sparta. Pyth. 11, Nem. 10, Isth. I. 
THERON. Tyrant of Akragas, victor, OL 2, 3. 
THERSAN'DROS. Son of Polyneikes, ancestor of Theron. OL 2. 
THORAX. Lord of Larisa, patron (perhaps an elder relative?) of Hippokleas. 

Pyth. 10. 

THRASYBOU'LOS. Son of Xenokrates, nephew of Theron. Pyth. 6, Isth. 2. 
THRASYDAI'OS. Victor, Pyth. 11. 
THYO'NA. Semele. Pyth. 3. 
TIMASAR'CHOS. Victor, Nem. 4. 
TIMODA'MOS. Victor, Nem. 2. 
TIMO'STHENES. Brother of Alkimedon. OL 8. 
TI'RYNS. A city near Argos. OL 7, 10; Isth. 6. 
TI'TYOS. Son of Zeus, king of Panopeus, killed by Artemis for trying to 

attack Lato. Pyth. 4. 
TYNDA'RIDAI. The "sons of Tyndareus," Kastor and Polydeukes (Pollux). 

OL 3, etc. 

TYRO. Mother, by Poseidon, of Pelias. Pyth. 4. 
TYRSE'NIAN. Etruscan. Pyth. 1. 

XENO'KRATES. Brother of Theron, victor, Pyth. 6. 
XE'NOPHON. Victor, OL 13. 



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